Robert Torrens and sliding tariffs

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International Trade

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Robert Torrens and sliding tariffs

This video covers a section of Robert Torrens' classic economic text, "The Budget." At the time, in 1834, there was a fixed tariff in place on food products that contained barley, wheat, and rye — like bread. English consumers faced a high level of risk and the price of these inputs changed, and a change in the price of bread had a significant impact on their ability to feed their families. Torrens advocated for a sliding scale tariff that would be high when the price of food was low, and low when the price of food was high. Torrens tied together behavioral economics, theory of optimal risk bearing, and theory of optimal taxation all at once.

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