In this paper we consider recent proposals to auction U.S. import quotas.
using the funds so obtained to encourage relocation out of the protected
industries. We argue that the information available to the government, or lack
thereof, is a critical factor in understanding these policies. In a world or full
information, it makes little sense to use auction quotas rather than tariffs.
Similarly, it is unclear why an elaborate program of temporary protection is
needed, rather than immediately opening trade and compensating people with an
income transfer. When the government has Limited information, however, these
policies become quite sensible and may even be optimal.
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