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Tag Archives: Trade Barriers

Don’t expect too much from sanctions

Countries often rely on economic sanctions as a lever to change policy in foreign countries.  The recent example of Huawei provides a good example of why sanctions are often (not always) ineffective: American tech companies are getting the go-ahead to resume business with Chinese smartphone giant Huawei Technologies Co., but it may be too late: It is now building smartphones without U.S. chips. . . . “When Huawei came out with this high-end phone—and this is its...

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Civil Discussion at My Boise State University Talk

Based on my sample size, civility is alive and well at Boise State. There has been so much discussion on line in the last few years about how hostile, and even, sometimes, violent U.S. college students have been to speakers who favor freedom. I think it’s important to right the balance by pointing out when that doesn’t happen. I spoke at Boise State University last Monday night to an audience of about 650 people. My talk was titled “The Case for Free Trade.” After my...

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Boise State Speech Next Monday

On Monday, November 4, I’ll be giving the Brandt Foundation Lecture at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. It will be the first time I’ve been in Boise since I stated overnight there in April 1971. Details are here. Title of talk: The Case for Free Trade Date: Monday, November 4 Time: 7:00 p.m. Location: Jordan Ballroom, SUB If you’re an EconLog reader and you come to the event, please come up before or after my talk and say hi.

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Can tariffs have a deflationary impact?

Before I read Deirdre McCloskey, I had a rather primitive view of methodology. Economists should develop hypotheses and then test these theories using real world data. Models were mathematical and empirical tests used regression analysis. Today, I have a more eclectic view.  A macroeconomist uses basic economic concepts, stylized facts and financial market reactions to news in order to develop a framework for understanding important macro phenomena.  Influential...

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Free to Trade with China (and Anyone Else): A Response to Michael Brendan Dougherty

What about China? That’s the surprising objection I’ve received to my “Departing the Shining City,” which ran on The Bulwark over Labor Day weekend. My essay looks back on Michael Anton’s “The Flight 93 Election” and disputes his objections to immigration (broadly, not just “illegal immigration”) and trade (again broadly, not just “unfair trade”), as well as his rejection of Goldwater–Reagan conservatism. I expected to get some criticisms for the essay, but I’m...

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Anecdotes vs. Data in the Trade War

Anecdotes are not necessarily useful to understand the social and economic world. An anecdote based on a sample of one can be worse than useless. A related point: we don’t expect a plumber to be able to criticize the mechanics of fluids; and we don’t expect a businessman to successfully challenge the economics of international trade. Jean-Baptiste Say, author of the 1803 Treatise on Political Economy, was an exception, and he wrote a whole treatise to prove it. Brian...

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War by any other means

Pierre Lemieux has an excellent post discussing President Trump’s decision to call off the military strike on Iran.  Like Pierre, I welcome this decision.  However, I’d like to point out that there is a sense in which we are already at war with Iran. Trump’s decision to place increasingly tight economic sanctions on Iran, and also to punish any third country that trades with Iran, is effectively an act of economic warfare.  It is intended to severely damage the...

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The Poverty of Protectionism and the Impact of Tariffs

The arguments for liberty are richer and belong to a deeper and more credible tradition than the authoritarians’ arguments. Nowhere perhaps is this more obvious than in the area of international trade. We can speak of the poverty of protectionism—even if, no doubt, many of the doctrine’s proponents have much of what hell is paved with. I cannot resist the temptation to quote a consistent authoritarian and defender of slavery before the Civil War, George Fitzhugh, who...

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Navarro’s “Fair, Reciprocal, and Balanced Trade”

Peter Navarro is director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, a White House agency created by President Trump, and one of the latter’s main trade advisers. He is a mystery: despite an economics Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University, he seems ignorant of economics. What he now says contradicts virtually everything he wrote in his 1984 book, The Policy Game: How Special Interests and Ideologues Are Stealing America, where he defended free markets and...

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The China shock ended long ago

A much cited study by Autor, Dorn and Hanson found that the surge in imports from China reduced employment in numerous local US labor markets during the period from 1990 to 2007.  Of course that was a period where the overall labor market did pretty well, with unemployment trending lower.  But what about the period since 2007? A new study suggests that the China shock was considerably smaller than previously estimated, and basically came to an end in 2008.  Here’s The...

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