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beggar-my-neighbour policy


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A policy that seeks benefits for one country at the expense of others, or tries to cure an economic problem in one country by means which tend to worsen the problems of other countries. (Some authors use the term ‘beggar-thy-neighbour’: the meaning is identical.) The term was originally devised to characterize policies of trying to cure domestic depression and unemployment by shifting effective demand away from imports on to domestically produced goods, either by the use of tariffs and quotas on imports, or by competitive devaluation. Beggar-my-neighbour policy has also taken the form of reducing domestic inflation through currency appreciation. This improves the terms of trade and thus reduces cost-inflationary pressure in the appreciating country, but tends to increase cost inflation in the country's trading partners.

Subjects: Economics.


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