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Policy Liberalization and US Merchandise Trade Growth, 1980--2006


  • Matthew Adler

    () (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

  • Gary Clyde Hufbauer

    () (Peterson Institute for International Economics)


This working paper draws on historical and contemporary data on tariffs, nontariff barriers, and transportation costs (for the United States and its major trading partners) to estimate the role of policy liberalization in US merchandise trade growth over the period 1980 to 2006. Both partial equilibrium analysis and computable general equilibrium analysis are used to make the estimates. Both methods indicate that roughly 25 percent of US trade growth since 1980 can be attributed to policy liberalization. Policy liberalization plays a larger role in US export growth (35 to 40 percent) than US import growth (25 percent). According to these estimates, policy liberalization accounts for almost all US merchandise growth in excess of growth that can be explained by expanding GDP in the United States and abroad.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew Adler & Gary Clyde Hufbauer, 2009. "Policy Liberalization and US Merchandise Trade Growth, 1980--2006," Working Paper Series WP09-2, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:wpaper:wp09-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sandra E. Black & Lisa M. Lynch, 2004. "What's driving the new economy?: the benefits of workplace innovation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(493), pages 97-116, February.
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    6. Takeo Hoshi & Anil Kashyap, 2004. "Corporate Financing and Governance in Japan: The Road to the Future," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582481, July.
    7. Schoppa, Leonard J., 1999. "The Social Context in Coercive International Bargaining," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(02), pages 307-342, March.
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    9. Adam S. Posen, 1998. "Restoring Japan's Economic Growth," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 35.
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    More about this item


    International trade; policy liberalization; tariff liberalization; nontariff barriers; transportation costs;

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F17 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Forecasting and Simulation
    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models

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