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Coping with Shocks and Shifts: The Multilateral Trading System in Historical Perspective

In: Globalization in an Age of Crisis: Multilateral Economic Cooperation in the Twenty-First Century

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  • Douglas A. Irwin
  • Kevin H. O'Rourke

Abstract

This paper provides a historical look at how the multilateral trading system has coped with the challenge of shocks and shifts. By shocks we mean sudden jolts to the world economy in the form of financial crises and deep recessions, or wars and political conflicts. By shifts we mean slow-moving, long-term changes in comparative advantage or shifts in the geopolitical equilibrium that force economies to undergo disruptive and potentially painful adjustments. We conclude that most shocks (financial crises and regional wars) have had relatively little effect on the trade policy, but that shifts pose a greater challenge to the system of open, multilateral trade.

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This chapter was published in:

  • Robert C. Feenstra & Alan M. Taylor, 2013. "Globalization in an Age of Crisis: Multilateral Economic Cooperation in the Twenty-First Century," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feen11-1, October.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 12575.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12575

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    1. Reuven Glick & Alan M. Taylor, 2005. "Collateral damage: trade disruption and the economic impact of war," Working Paper Series, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco 2005-11, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    2. Ronald Findlay & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2007. "Preface to Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium
      [Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium]
      ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
    3. Eichengreen, Barry & Irwin, Douglas A., 2010. "The Slide to Protectionism in the Great Depression: Who Succumbed and Why?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(04), pages 871-897, December.
    4. Ronald Findlay & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2007. "Introduction to Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium
      [Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium]
      ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
    5. Giovanni Maggi & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 1998. "The Value of Trade Agreements in the Presence of Political Pressures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 574-601, June.
    6. O'Rourke, K, 1997. "The European Grain Invasion 1870-1913," Papers, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy- 97/02, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
    7. Markus Lampe, 2011. "Explaining nineteenth‐century bilateralism: economic and political determinants of the Cobden–Chevalier network," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, Economic History Society, vol. 64(2), pages 644-668, 05.
    8. Lester, Simon, 2011. "The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy by Dani Rodrik New York: Norton, 2011," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(03), pages 409-417, July.
    9. Ronald Findlay & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2007. "Power and Plenty: Trade, War and the World Economy in the Second Millennium (Preface)," Trinity Economics Papers, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics tep0107, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    10. Barry Eichengreen, 1992. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number eich92-1, October.
    11. O Rourke, Kevin H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2002. "When did globalisation begin?," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 23-50, April.
    12. Chad P. Bown, 2011. "The Great Recession and Import Protection : The Role of Temporary Trade Barriers," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 16359, August.
    13. Scheve, Kenneth F. & Slaughter, Matthew J., 2001. "What determines individual trade-policy preferences?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 267-292, August.
    14. Lampe, Markus, 2009. "Effects of Bilateralism and the MFN Clause on International Trade: Evidence for the Cobden-Chevalier Network, 1860-1875," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(04), pages 1012-1040, December.
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    Cited by:
    1. Eric Schneider, 2012. "Prices and Production: Agricultural Supply Response in Fourteenth-Century England," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford _097, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    2. Aled Davies, 2012. "The Evolution of British Monetarism: 1968-1979," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford _104, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    3. Aled Davies, 2012. "The Evolution of British Monetarism: 1968-1979," Economics Series Working Papers Number 104, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    4. Schneider, Eric B., 2013. "Real wages and the family: Adjusting real wages to changing demography in pre-modern England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 99-115.

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