A Utilitarian Welfare Analysis of Trade Liberalization
This paper provides a welfare analysis of trade liberalization based upon the moral principles of utilitarianism. The history of the moral philosophy of utilitarianism is described including its introduction into what became known as Cambridge welfare economics. The differences between this school of thought and what would later develop as modern welfare analysis are discussed. Essentially, the Cambridge economists were not particularly disturbed by the assumptions of cardinal utility and interpersonal comparisons and argued that these assumptions added more than they took away. Next the mathematical form of a utilitarian utility and social welfare function are described and the values of the parameters are assigned based upon the writings of moral philosophers. Next the distributional consequences of trade liberalization are developed and the social welfare implications are derived. Basically it is concluded that trade policy changes produce large distributional changes relative to efficiency gains, and the gains go to individuals with significantly higher income than the lossers (in the developed economies). With a realistic concave utility function underlying the social welfare function, the benefits of trade liberalization are quite small if not negative. The policy implication is that trade liberalization without sizable redistribution is unlikely to actually (as opposed to potentially) increase social welfare. It is argued that this approach to trade policy analysis is much more useful in formulating trade policy than the current use of modern welfare- trade policy analysis commonly used and taught in most universities.
|Date of creation:||Dec 2006|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published in UNECE Discussion Paper Series, No. 2006_4|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: +4122 917 44 44
Fax: +4122 917 05 05
Web page: http://www.unece.org/Email:
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Mussa, Michael, 1974. "Tariffs and the Distribution of Income: The Importance of Factor Specificity, Substitutability, and Intensity in the Short and Long Run," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1191-1203, Nov.-Dec..
- Browning, Edgar K & Johnson, William R, 1984. "The Trade-Off between Equality and Efficiency," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(2), pages 175-203, April.
- Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
- Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1978. "Measures of relative equality and their meaning in terms of social welfare," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 59-80, June.
- Andreoni,J. & Vesterlund,L., 1998.
"Which is the fair sex? : Gender differences in altruism,"
10, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
- James Andreoni & Lise Vesterlund, 2001. "Which Is The Fair Sex? Gender Differences In Altruism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 293-312, February.
- Andreoni, James & Vesterlund, Lise, 2001. "Which is the Fair Sex? Gender Differences in Altruism," Staff General Research Papers 1951, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
- Ballard, Charles L, 1988. "The Marginal Efficiency Cost of Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1019-33, December.
- Stuart, Charles E, 1984. "Welfare Costs per Dollar of Additional Tax Revenue in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 352-62, June.
- Kelsey, David, 1994.
"Maxmin Expected Utility and Weight of Evidence,"
Oxford Economic Papers,
Oxford University Press, vol. 46(3), pages 425-44, July.
- Fair, Ray C, 1971. "The Optimal Distribution of Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 551-79, November.
- Levy, Santiago & van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1995. "Transition Problems in Economic Reform: Agriculture in the North American Free Trade Agreement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 738-54, September.
- Deraniyagala, Sonali & Fine, Ben, 2001. "New Trade Theory versus Old Trade Policy: A Continuing Enigma," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(6), pages 809-25, November.
- John C. Harsanyi, 1953. "Cardinal Utility in Welfare Economics and in the Theory of Risk-taking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 434.
- Adelman, Irma & Robinson, Sherman, 1988. "Macroeconomic adjustment and income distribution : Alternative models applied to two economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 23-44, July.
- Kenneth Hanson & Kenneth Reinert, 1997. "The Distributional Effects of U.S. Textile and Apparel Protection," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(3), pages 1-12.
- Parks, Robert P, 1976. "An Impossibility Theorem for Fixed Preferences: A Dictatorial Bergson-Samuelson Welfare Function," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(3), pages 447-50, October.
- David L. Dickinson & Jill Tiefenthaler, 2002.
"What Is Fair? Experimental Evidence,"
Southern Economic Journal,
Southern Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 414-428, October.
- Clark, Colin, 1973. "The Marginal Utility of Income," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(2), pages 145-59, July.
- Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Income Inequality in the United States, 1913-1998 (series updated to 2000 available)," NBER Working Papers 8467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
- Waldman, Michael, 1994. "Systematic Errors and the Theory of Natural Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 482-97, June.
- Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1948. "The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 279.
- Ballard, Charles L & Shoven, John B & Whalley, John, 1985. "General Equilibrium Computations of the Marginal Welfare Costs of Taxes in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 128-38, March.
- Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1975. "Bentham or Bergson? Finite Sensibility, Utility Functions and Social Welfare Functions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(4), pages 545-69, October.
- Frederick Mosteller & Philip Nogee, 1951. "An Experimental Measurement of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59, pages 371.
- Kemp, Murray C & Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1976. "On the Existence of Social Welfare Functions, Social Orderings and Social Decision Functions," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 43(169), pages 59-66, February.
- Thurow, Lester C, 1971. "The Income Distribution as a Pure Public Good," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 85(2), pages 327-36, May.
- Hansson, Ingemar & Stuart, Charles, 1990. "Malthusian Selection of Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 529-44, June.
- Kenneth J. Arrow, 1950. "A Difficulty in the Concept of Social Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 328.
- Boskin, Michael J & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1978. "Optimal Redistributive Taxation when Individual Welfare Depends upon Relative Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 589-601, November.
- Gary Burtless, 1986. "The work response to a guaranteed income: a survey of experimental evidence," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 30, pages 22-59.
- Harry Markowitz, 1952. "The Utility of Wealth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60, pages 151.
- C. Shelburne, Robert, 2004. "Wage Differentials, Monopsony Labor Markets, and the Trade-Labor Standards Debate," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 19, pages 131-161.
- Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1981. "Bentham or Nash? On the Acceptable Form of Social Welfare Functions," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 57(158), pages 238-50, September.
- Alexander, Sidney S, 1974. "Social Evaluation through Notional Choice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 597-624, November.
- Wood, Adrian, 1997. "Openness and Wage Inequality in Developing Countries: The Latin American Challenge to East Asian Conventional Wisdom," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 33-57, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ece:dispap:2006_4. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Robert Shelburne)The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Robert Shelburne to update the entry or send us the correct address
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.