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Policy Uncertainty, Trade, and Welfare: Theory and Evidence for China and the United States

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  • Kyle Handley
  • Nuno Limão

Abstract

We examine the impact of policy uncertainty on trade, prices, and real income through firm entry investments in general equilibrium. We estimate and quantify the impact of trade policy on China's export boom to the United States following its 2001 WTO accession. We find the accession reduced the US threat of a trade war, which can account for over one-third of that export growth in the period 2000-2005. Reduced policy uncertainty lowered US prices and increased its consumers' income by the equivalent of a 13-percentage-point permanent tariff decrease. These findings provide evidence of large effects of policy uncertainty on economic activity and the importance of agreements for reducing it.

Suggested Citation

  • Kyle Handley & Nuno Limão, 2017. "Policy Uncertainty, Trade, and Welfare: Theory and Evidence for China and the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(9), pages 2731-2783, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:9:p:2731-83
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20141419
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • P33 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - International Trade, Finance, Investment, Relations, and Aid

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