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on coffee and tobacco did not mean lower import levels, but rather a slow increase between 1830 and 1864. The impact of the sugar tariff is a bit more difficult to interpret, but it rather seems that lower tariffs meant higher revenue. Or simply that the import of sugar continued to increase regardless of the tariff; it increased when it was stable, lowered, and increased. Hence, Swedish policymakers seem to have set tariffs that were fiscally efficient during the 1840s, 1850s, and 1860s.17
The correlation between the average tariffs on sugar, coffee, and tobacco, and total customs rev-enue was notably positive during the first period, with a correlation coefficient of 0.85 (Figure 10). The relationship was quite linear and gives some indication that higher tariffs would have yielded higher revenue. When tariffs on more goods (other than the three mentioned above also tariffs on alcohol and agriculture) were included in the measure and calculated as ad valorem the relationship however disappeared. There was no correlation then with a coefficient of 0.022. The positive

17It is important to mention that the customs revenue from fabrics and clothing articles also rose a lot during this period. Since that category consisted of such a plethora of different items with varying tariffs it is however difficult to make an interpretation over the ‘higher tariff – lower revenue’ hypothesis. It is also likely that what mattered in this category was mostly the fact that earlier import bans were removed and replaced with tariffs, which caused growth in textile imports and hence also in customs revenue for this category.


relationship was also there when the three tariffs from Figure 8 was measured against customs rev-enue on those three goods, with a correlation coefficient of 0.83(see Figure 11). The relationship is still positive when the tariffs are measured as ad valorem, but it is weaker at 0.41. Increases in nom-inal tariffs seem to have had a positive impact on real increases in customs revenue, both on total level and on the three most important commodities. This was less so when prices were taken into account, but there was still a positive relationship on sectoral level. There is some indication that the government was able to raise fiscal tariffs on good with lower elasticity of demand and increase revenue as a result.
6. Conclusions
This article has set out to answer what determined the growth of customs revenue in nine-teenth century Sweden. It has focused on tariff setting and the structure of customs revenue in order to answer this question. Integral changes were made to Swedish trade policy during the period, and many were undertaken before 1860. This article has shown that these changes need to be taken into account to properly analyse the fiscal development in nineteenth century Sweden, something which has typically been lacking in earlier research such as Gårestad (1985) and Henrekson and Stenkula (2015). First, the general development of Swedish nineteenth cen-tury trade policy served fiscal needs and goals. The move away from taxing exports to taxing only imports, and mainly imports whose growth were not hurt by the existence of tariffs, was instrumental in securing a steady flow of customs revenue. Not only was this likely a move that promoted export growth, but imports would come to outgrow exports during the second half of the century, and some decades even outgrew GDP. Taxes on imports hence created room for revenue growth that taxes on all of foreign trade could not. The several consecutive decisions to remove import bans and replace them with (often rather high) tariffs served the same purpose. Second, the liberalisation of trade policy during the 1850s forced a slimmer tariff structure that put fiscal burden on a smaller number of goods. These were particularly goods with low elas-ticity of demand, such as sugar, coffee, tobacco, and alcohol. This puts Sweden along the same lines of other European countries who also taxed these goods highly for revenue purposes. Cer-tain items which were important in the revenue baskets of other countries, such as petroleum and oils, were however only of minor or no importance in Sweden. Sweden instead stood out by drawing lots of revenue from textiles and clothing, and during 1890–1910 also from capital goods. Revenue from agricultural goods, mostly wheat, also became relevant again when these tariffs were reinstated during the 1880s. Third, the rates on these types of goods could be increased at times when that was deemed necessary without losing revenue. Rather, the analysis in section 5 showed that revenue increased when tariff rates were heightened. The result that higher tariffs yielded higher revenues is interesting in relation to that issue as raised by Irwin (1998). This development took place during a critical time when customs revenue as share of total government revenue really took off and came to be the single most important tax receipt. Trade policy hence came to be a key driver of nineteenth century fiscal develop-ment in Sweden.
Revenue needs were a large driver of tariff policy in nineteenth century Sweden. This contrasts with earlier Swedish research (Heckscher, 1954; Jonsson, 2005; Montgomery, 1921) but rhymes well with international research and experiences in other countries (see for example Williamson, 2006, and the cited work in Dormois et al., 2006). Tariffs could be set without discouraging imports and decreasing revenue, but as earlier research has pointed out, tariffs could have had other negative effects not discussed here. This was probably most likely towards the end of the period here when more customs revenue came from seemingly protective duties (on agriculture and industrial imports) than before. The state benefited in terms of growing revenue, but industry and agriculture could have suffered under a higher tariff burden. One can however wonder whether the actual effects were leaned towards the fiscal or the protectionist. An import like wheat grew after agricultural tariffs


were re-introduced and arguably came to function like a commodity with low elasticity of demand. Is it possible that tariffs served both fiscal and protectionist needs at the same time or are these mutually exclusive? This possible trade policy clash warrants further studies.
An early version of the paper was presented at the 41st Annual Economic and Business History Society Conference, Montreal, Canada. The author wishes to thank the participants there for helpful comments. Thank you to Peter Hed-berg for reading the text and advising how to approve the approach and the analysis. I am very thankful for the con-structive comments and criticism from editor Jari Ojala and two anonymous referees. All remaining errors and misunderstandings are the sole responsibility of the author.
Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author.
This work was supported by the Jan Wallanders och Tom Hedelius Stiftelse samt Tore Browaldhs Stiftelse [grant num-ber P2016-0135:1].
Henric Häggqvist
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