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Protectionism and the Business Cycle

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  • Alessandro Barattieri
  • Matteo Cacciatore
  • Fabio Ghironi

Abstract

We study the consequences of protectionism for macroeconomic fluctuations. First, using high-frequency trade policy data, we present fresh evidence on the dynamic effects of temporary trade barriers. Estimates from country-level and panel VARs show that protectionism acts as a supply shock, causing output to fall and inflation to rise in the short run. Moreover, protectionism has at best a small positive effect on the trade balance. Second, we build a small open economy model with firm heterogeneity, endogenous selection into trade, and nominal rigidity to study the channels through which protectionism affects aggregate fluctuations. The model successfully reproduces the VAR evidence and highlights the importance of aggregate investment dynamics and micro-level reallocations for the contractionary effects of tariffs. We then use the model to study scenarios where temporary trade barriers have been advocated as potentially beneficial, including recessions with binding constraints on monetary policy easing or in the presence of a fixed exchange rate. Our main conclusion is that, in all the scenarios we consider, protectionism is not an effective tool for macroeconomic stimulus.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandro Barattieri & Matteo Cacciatore & Fabio Ghironi, 2018. "Protectionism and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 24353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24353
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    Cited by:

    1. Laura Alfaro & Alejandro Cuñat & Harald Fadinger & Yanping Liu, 2017. "The Real Exchange Rate, Innovation and Asymmetries and Hysteresis," Harvard Business School Working Papers 18-044, Harvard Business School, revised May 2018.
    2. Mandelman, Federico S. & Waddle, Andrea, 2020. "Intellectual property, tariffs, and international trade dynamics," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 86-103.
    3. Caldara, Dario & Iacoviello, Matteo & Molligo, Patrick & Prestipino, Andrea & Raffo, Andrea, 2020. "The economic effects of trade policy uncertainty," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 38-59.
    4. Lindé, Jesper & Pescatori, Andrea, 2019. "The macroeconomic effects of trade tariffs: Revisiting the Lerner symmetry result," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 52-69.
    5. Fabio Ghironi, 2018. "Macro needs micro," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(1-2), pages 195-218.
    6. Dmitry Matveev & Francisco Ruge-Murcia, 2020. "Tariffs and the Exchange Rate : Evidence from Twitter," Cahiers de recherche 19-2020, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    7. Anthony Landry, 2018. "Capital-Goods Imports and U.S. Growth," 2018 Meeting Papers 208, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Alfaro, Laura & Cunat, Alejandro & Fadinger, Harald & Yanping, Liu, 2017. "The real exchange rate, innovation and productivity," Working Papers 17-04, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
    9. Rasa Stasiukynaite, 2019. "Reordering international trade: what will it cost?," Bank of Lithuania Occasional Paper Series 27, Bank of Lithuania.
    10. Rodríguez Chatruc, Marisol & Stein, Ernesto & Vlaicu, Razvan, 2021. "How issue framing shapes trade attitudes: Evidence from a multi-country survey experiment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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