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Understanding the Trade Imbalance and Employment Decline in U.S. Manufacturing


  • Brian Reinbold
  • Yi Wen


Economic analysis suggests that a trade war with China can neither stop the decline in American manufacturing employment nor eliminate the U.S. trade deficit, but it could significantly reduce the welfare of American consumers by making U.S. imports of Chinese goods more expensive. Moreover, it could cause the United States to lose its global leadership in free trade and globalization and facilitate China's rise as a world leader in trade and commerce. A better approach may be for policymakers to design policies that can ensure fair redistribution of the gains from free trade among American citizens and to reform the education system to prepare students for future jobs that require knowledge of automation and artificial intelligence.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian Reinbold & Yi Wen, 2018. "Understanding the Trade Imbalance and Employment Decline in U.S. Manufacturing," Economic Synopses, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue 15, pages 1-3.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedles:00111
    DOI: 10.20955/es.2018.15

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl & Joseph B. Steinberg, 2018. "Global Imbalances and Structural Change in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 126(2), pages 761-796.
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