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Policy Uncertainty, Trade and Welfare: Theory and Evidence for China and the U.S

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  • Kyle Handley

    (University of Michigan)

  • Nuno Limao

    (University of Marylan and NBER)

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 U.S. following its 2001 WTO accession. We find the accession reduced the U.S. threat of a trade war, which can account for over 1/3 of that export growth in 2000-2005. Reduced policy uncertainty lowered U.S. 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 Limao, 2016. "Policy Uncertainty, Trade and Welfare: Theory and Evidence for China and the U.S," Working Papers 650, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:mie:wpaper:650
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dmitri Kirpichev & Enrique Moral-Benito, 2018. "The costs of trade protectionism: evidence from Spanish firms and non-tariff measures," Working Papers 1814, Banco de España.
    2. Shubham Chaudhuri & John McLaren, 2007. "Some Simple Analytics of Trade and Labor Mobility," NBER Working Papers 13464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Csilla Lakatos & Lars Nilsson, 2017. "The EU-Korea FTA: anticipation, trade policy uncertainty and impact," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 153(1), pages 179-198, February.
    4. Handley, Kyle, 2014. "Exporting under trade policy uncertainty: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 50-66.
    5. Justin R. Pierce & Peter K. Schott, 2020. "Trade Liberalization and Mortality: Evidence from US Counties," American Economic Review: Insights, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 47-64, March.
    6. Kym Anderson, 2016. "Contributions Of The Gatt/Wto To Global Economic Welfare: Empirical Evidence," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(1), pages 56-92, February.
    7. Zhao, Liqiu & Wang, Fei & Zhao, Zhong, 2016. "Trade Liberalization and Child Labor in China," IZA Discussion Papers 10295, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. McManus, T. Clay & Schaur, Georg, 2016. "The effects of import competition on worker health," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 160-172.
    9. Maximiliano Dvorkin & Fernando Parro & Lorenzo Caliendo, 2015. "The Impact of Trade on Labor Market Dynamics," 2015 Meeting Papers 1532, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Gnutzmann-Mkrtchyan, Arevik & Henn, Christian, 2018. "Peeling away the layers: Impacts of durable tariff elimination," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 259-276.
    11. De Sousa, José & Disdier, Anne-Célia & Gaigné, Carl, 2020. "Export decision under risk," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 121(C).
    12. Andrew Greenland & Mihai Ion & John Lopresti, 2019. "Exports, investment and policy uncertainty," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 52(3), pages 1248-1288, August.
    13. Fariha Kamal & Mary E. Lovely & Devashish Mitra, 2019. "Trade liberalisation and labour shares in China," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(12), pages 3588-3618, December.
    14. Ryuhei Wakasugi & Hongyong Zhang, 2016. "Impacts of the WTO accession on Chinese exports," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 347-364, October.
    15. Bown,Chad P. & Bown,Chad P., 2015. "What?s left for the WTO ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7502, The World Bank.
    16. Henn, Christian & Gnutzmann-Mkrtchyan, Arevik, 2015. "The layers of the IT Agreement's trade impact," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2015-01, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    17. Bai, Xue & Krishna, Kala & Ma, Hong, 2017. "How you export matters: Export mode, learning and productivity in China," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 122-137.
    18. Lorenzo Caliendo & Maximiliano Dvorkin & Fernando Parro, 2019. "Trade and Labor Market Dynamics: General Equilibrium Analysis of the China Trade Shock," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 87(3), pages 741-835, May.
    19. Douglas L. Campbell, 2013. "Relative Prices, Hysteresis, and the Decline of American Manufacturing," 2013 Papers pca584, Job Market Papers.
    20. Valeria Groppo & Roberta Piermartini, 2014. "Trade Policy Uncertainty and the WTO," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1437, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    21. Mau, Karsten, 2017. "US policy spillover(?) – China’s accession to the WTO and rising exports to the EU," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 169-188.
    22. Robert C. Feenstra, 2017. "Statistics to Measure Offshoring and its Impact," NBER Working Papers 23067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Osnago, Alberto & Piermartini, Roberta & Rocha, Nadia, 2015. "Trade policy uncertainty as barrier to trade," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2015-05, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    24. Bombardini, Matilde & Li, Bingjing, 2020. "Trade, pollution and mortality in China," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C).
    25. Artuc,Erhan & Lederman,Daniel & Rojas Alvarado,Luis Diego & Artuc,Erhan & Lederman,Daniel & Rojas Alvarado,Luis Diego, 2015. "The rise of China and labor market adjustments in Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7155, The World Bank.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    China; World Trade Organization; Policy Uncertainty; Welfare;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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