Look Before You Leap: The Economics of Free Trade and Income Redistribution
AbstractEconomists tend to exalt the virtues of free international trade, while politicians are more skeptical. This paper suggests that this is the case because politicians mainly worry about the income distribution effects of trade liberalization, while economists focus on efficiency. Using textbook economic analyses we show that compensating the income distribution effects of free trade may be more complicated and hazardous than is often assumed, at least from a comparative static point of view. Hence politicians may favor trade liberalization only when distributional effects are ignored. By using a multitude of analytical tools and approaches, our paper also makes a useful teaching case for undergraduate students to test and gear their thinking about trade policy issues
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 1583.
Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Trade policy; income distribution; compensation schemes; undergraduate teaching;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- A20 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - General
- F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
- H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-01-23 (All new papers)
- NEP-HPE-2010-01-23 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-INT-2010-01-23 (International Trade)
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