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Coping with Shocks and Shifts: The Multilateral Trading System in Historical Perspective

  • 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 trade policy, but that shifts pose a greater challenge to the system of open, multilateral trade.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17598.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17598.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Publication status: published as Coping with Shocks and Shifts: The Multilateral Trading System in Historical Perspective , Douglas A. Irwin, Kevin H. O'Rourke. in Globalization in an Age of Crisis: Multilateral Economic Cooperation in the Twenty-First Century , Feenstra and Taylor. 2014
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17598
Note: ITI
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  1. Anna Maria Mayda & Dani Rodrik, 2001. "Why Are Some People (and Countries) More Protectionist Than Others?," NBER Working Papers 8461, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Glick, Reuven & Taylor, Alan M., 2005. "Collateral Damage: Trade Disruption and the Economic Impact of War," CEPR Discussion Papers 5209, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. 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.
  8. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2000. "When Did Globalization Begin?," NBER Working Papers 7632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Maggi, G & Rodriguez-Clare, A, 1996. "The Value of Trade Agreements in the Presence of Political Pressures," Papers 180, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  10. Eichengreen, Barry & Irwin, Douglas A., 2010. "The Slide to Protectionism in the Great Depression: Who Succumbed and Why?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(04), pages 871-897, December.
  11. O'Rourke, Kevin H., 1997. "The European Grain Invasion, 1870–1913," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(04), pages 775-801, December.
  12. Ronald Findlay & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2007. "Power and Plenty: Trade, War and the World Economy in the Second Millennium (Preface)," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp205, IIIS.
  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. 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.
  15. Chad P. Bown, 2011. "The Great Recession and Import Protection : The Role of Temporary Trade Barriers," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 16359.
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