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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

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

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, ultilateral 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, May.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 12575.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12575
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. Markus Lampe, 2009. "Effects of Bilateralism and the MFN Clause on International Trade – Evidence for the Cobden-Chevalier Network, (1860-1875)," CQE Working Papers 0209, Center for Quantitative Economics (CQE), University of Muenster.
    2. Anna Maria Mayda (Georgetown University) and Dani Rodrik (Harvard University), 2005. "Why are some people (and countries) more protectionist than others?," Working Papers gueconwpa~05-05-11, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    3. Ronald Findlay & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2007. "Power and Plenty: Trade, War and the World Economy in the Second Millennium (Preface)," Trinity Economics Papers tep0107, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    4. Reuven Glick & Alan M. Taylor, 2005. "Collateral damage: trade disruption and the economic impact of war," Working Paper Series 2005-11, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    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, vol. 106(3), pages 574-601, June.
    6. O Rourke, Kevin H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2002. "When did globalisation begin?," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 23-50, April.
    7. Markus Lampe, 2011. "Explaining nineteenth‐century bilateralism: economic and political determinants of the Cobden–Chevalier network," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 64(2), pages 644-668, 05.
    8. 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.
    9. O'Rourke, K, 1997. "The European Grain Invasion 1870-1913," Papers 97/02, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
    10. Barry Eichengreen & Douglas A. Irwin, 2009. "The Slide to Protectionism in the Great Depression: Who Succumbed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 15142, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Chad P. Bown, 2011. "The Great Recession and Import Protection : The Role of Temporary Trade Barriers," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 16359, June.
    12. Eichengreen, Barry, 1996. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195101133, March.
    13. 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, vol. 10(03), pages 409-417, July.
    14. Scheve, Kenneth F. & Slaughter, Matthew J., 2001. "What determines individual trade-policy preferences?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 267-292, August.
    15. 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.
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