IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/25638.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Return to Protectionism

Author

Listed:
  • Pablo D. Fajgelbaum
  • Pinelopi K. Goldberg
  • Patrick J. Kennedy
  • Amit K. Khandelwal

Abstract

After decades of supporting free trade, in 2018 the U.S. raised import tariffs and major trade partners retaliated. We analyze the short-run impact of this return to protectionism on the U.S. economy. Import and retaliatory tariffs caused large declines in imports and exports. Prices of imports targeted by tariffs did not fall, implying complete pass-through of tariffs to duty-inclusive prices. The resulting losses to U.S. consumers and firms who buy imports was $51 billion, or 0.27% of GDP. We embed the estimated trade elasticities in a general-equilibrium model of the U.S. economy. After accounting for tariff revenue and gains to domestic producers, the aggregate real income loss was $7.2 billion, or 0.04% of GDP. Import tariffs favored sectors concentrated in politically competitive counties, and the model implies that tradeable-sector workers in heavily Republican counties were the most negatively affected due to the retaliatory tariffs.

Suggested Citation

  • Pablo D. Fajgelbaum & Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Patrick J. Kennedy & Amit K. Khandelwal, 2019. "The Return to Protectionism," NBER Working Papers 25638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25638
    Note: ITI
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w25638.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Coglianese & Lucas W. Davis & Lutz Kilian & James H. Stock, 2017. "Anticipation, Tax Avoidance, and the Price Elasticity of Gasoline Demand," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(1), pages 1-15, January.
    2. Petia Topalova, 2010. "Factor Immobility and Regional Impacts of Trade Liberalization: Evidence on Poverty from India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 1-41, October.
    3. Dave Donaldson, 2018. "Railroads of the Raj: Estimating the Impact of Transportation Infrastructure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(4-5), pages 899-934, April.
    4. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2006. "Globalization and the Gains From Variety," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 541-585.
    5. Feenstra, Robert C., 1989. "Symmetric pass-through of tariffs and exchange rates under imperfect competition: An empirical test," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 25-45, August.
    6. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Michael M. Knetter, 1997. "Goods Prices and Exchange Rates: What Have We Learned?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1243-1272, September.
    7. Redding, Stephen & Amiti, Mary & Weinstein, David, 2019. "The impact of the 2018 trade war on U.S. prices and welfare," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 102619, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    8. Nathan Nunn, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 569-600.
    9. David H. Autor & David Dorn & Gordon H. Hanson, 2013. "The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2121-2168, October.
    10. repec:hrv:faseco:30703874 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Simonovska, Ina & Waugh, Michael E., 2014. "The elasticity of trade: Estimates and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 34-50.
    12. Alberto Cavallo & Gita Gopinath & Brent Neiman & Jenny Tang, 2021. "Tariff Pass-Through at the Border and at the Store: Evidence from US Trade Policy," American Economic Review: Insights, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 19-34, March.
    13. Pol Antras & Davin Chor & Thibault Fally & Russell Hillberry, 2012. "Measuring the Upstreamness of Production and Trade Flows," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 412-416, May.
    14. David H. Autor & David Dorn & Gordon H. Hanson & Jae Song, 2014. "Trade Adjustment: Worker-Level Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(4), pages 1799-1860.
    15. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1145-1177, September.
    16. Douglas A. Irwin, 2014. "Tariff Incidence: Evidence from U.S. Sugar Duties, 1890-1930," NBER Working Papers 20635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Floris T. Zoutman & Evelina Gavrilova & Arnt O. Hopland, 2018. "Estimating Both Supply and Demand Elasticities Using Variation in a Single Tax Rate," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 86(2), pages 763-771, March.
    18. Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2016. "The Effects of Trade Policy," NBER Working Papers 21957, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Attanasio, Orazio & Goldberg, Pinelopi K. & Pavcnik, Nina, 2004. "Trade reforms and wage inequality in Colombia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 331-366, August.
    20. Raphael Auer & Barthélémy Bonadio & Andrei A Levchenko, 2018. "The economics of revoking NAFTA," BIS Working Papers 739, Bank for International Settlements.
    21. Harry G. Johnson, 1953. "Optimum Tariffs and Retaliation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(2), pages 142-153.
    22. Paula Bustos, 2011. "Trade Liberalization, Exports, and Technology Upgrading: Evidence on the Impact of MERCOSUR on Argentinian Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 304-340, February.
    23. Alan Spearot, 2016. "Unpacking the Long-Run Effects of Tariff Shocks: New Structural Implications from Firm Heterogeneity Models," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 128-167, May.
    24. Rafael Dix-Carneiro & Brian K. Kovak, 2017. "Trade Liberalization and Regional Dynamics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(10), pages 2908-2946, October.
    25. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    26. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2018. "Identity Politics and Trade Policy," NBER Working Papers 25348, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    27. Helpman, Elhanan, 1995. "Politics and Trade Policy," Foerder Institute for Economic Research Working Papers 275606, Tel-Aviv University > Foerder Institute for Economic Research.
    28. Mary Amiti & Jozef Konings, 2007. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs, and Productivity: Evidence from Indonesia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1611-1638, December.
    29. Cecilia Bellora & Lionel Fontagné, 2019. "Shooting Oneself in the Foot? Trade War and Global Value Chains," Working Papers 2019-18, CEPII research center.
    30. Sandra Sequeira, 2016. "Corruption, Trade Costs, and Gains from Tariff Liberalization: Evidence from Southern Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(10), pages 3029-3063, October.
    31. Mayer, Wolfgang, 1984. "Endogenous Tariff Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 970-985, December.
    32. Thiemo Fetzer & Carlo Schwarz, 2021. "Tariffs and Politics: Evidence from Trump’s Trade Wars," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 131(636), pages 1717-1741.
    33. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Amit Kumar Khandelwal & Nina Pavcnik & Petia Topalova, 2010. "Imported Intermediate Inputs and Domestic Product Growth: Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1727-1767.
    34. Brian K. Kovak, 2013. "Regional Effects of Trade Reform: What Is the Correct Measure of Liberalization?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1960-1976, August.
    35. Amit Khandelwal, 2010. "The Long and Short (of) Quality Ladders," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1450-1476.
    36. Cecilia Bellora & Lionel Fontagné, 2019. "Shooting Oneself in the Foot? Trade War and Global Value Chains," Working Papers 2019-18, CEPII research center.
    37. Lorenzo Caliendo & Robert C. Feenstra & John Romalis & Alan M. Taylor, 2015. "Tariff Reductions, Entry, and Welfare: Theory and Evidence for the Last Two Decades," NBER Working Papers 21768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    38. Ralph Ossa, 2014. "Trade Wars and Trade Talks with Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(12), pages 4104-4146, December.
    39. Xiangjun Ma & John McLaren, 2018. "A Swing-State Theorem, with Evidence," NBER Working Papers 24425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    40. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2008. "Five Facts about Prices: A Reevaluation of Menu Cost Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1415-1464.
    41. Giovanni Maggi & Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg, 1999. "Protection for Sale: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1135-1155, December.
    42. Brian McCaig & Nina Pavcnik, 2018. "Export Markets and Labor Allocation in a Low-Income Country," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(7), pages 1899-1941, July.
    43. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Tariffs, quotas and terms-of-trade: The case of New Zealand," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 313-332, December.
    44. Raphael A. Auer & Barthélémy Bonadio & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2020. "The Economics and Politics of Revoking NAFTA," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 68(1), pages 230-267, March.
    45. Robert W. Staiger & Kyle Bagwell, 1999. "An Economic Theory of GATT," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 215-248, March.
    46. Gita Gopinath & Oleg Itskhoki & Roberto Rigobon, 2010. "Currency Choice and Exchange Rate Pass-Through," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 304-336, March.
    47. Atkin, David & Donaldson, Dave, 2015. "Who’s Getting Globalized? The Size and Implications of Intra-national Trade Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 10759, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    48. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
    49. Costas Arkolakis & Arnaud Costinot & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 2012. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 94-130, February.
    50. Spearot, Alan C., 2013. "Variable demand elasticities and tariff liberalization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 26-41.
    51. Hillberry, Russell & Hummels, David, 2013. "Trade Elasticity Parameters for a Computable General Equilibrium Model," Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, in: Peter B. Dixon & Dale Jorgenson (ed.), Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 1213-1269, Elsevier.
    52. Robert Dekle & Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2008. "Global Rebalancing with Gravity: Measuring the Burden of Adjustment," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 55(3), pages 511-540, July.
    53. David Baqaee & Emmanuel Farhi, 2019. "Networks, Barriers, and Trade," NBER Working Papers 26108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    54. Lorenzo Caliendo & Fernando Parro, 2015. "Estimates of the Trade and Welfare Effects of NAFTA," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(1), pages 1-44.
    55. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Technology, Geography, and Trade," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1741-1779, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Sanyal, Anirban, 2021. "Impact of US-China Trade War on Indian External Trade," EconStor Preprints 242250, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    2. Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2016. "The Effects of Trade Policy," NBER Working Papers 21957, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Malgouyres, Clément & Mayer, Thierry & Mazet-Sonilhac, Clément, 2021. "Technology-induced trade shocks? Evidence from broadband expansion in France," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    4. Malgouyres, Clément & Mayer, Thierry & Mazet-Sonilhac, Clément, 2021. "Technology-induced trade shocks? Evidence from broadband expansion in France," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    5. Malgouyres, Clément & Mayer, Thierry & Mazet-Sonilhac, Clément, 2021. "Technology-induced trade shocks? Evidence from broadband expansion in France," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    6. Malgouyres, Clément & Mayer, Thierry & Mazet-Sonilhac, Clément, 2021. "Technology-induced trade shocks? Evidence from broadband expansion in France," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    7. Fontagné, Lionel & Guimbard, Houssein & Orefice, Gianluca, 2022. "Tariff-based product-level trade elasticities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C).
    8. Malgouyres, Clément & Mayer, Thierry & Mazet-Sonilhac, Clément, 2021. "Technology-induced trade shocks? Evidence from broadband expansion in France," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    9. Joseph S Shapiro, 2021. "The Environmental Bias of Trade Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 136(2), pages 831-886.
    10. Lashkaripour, Ahmad, 2021. "The cost of a global tariff war: A sufficient statistics approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).
    11. Pol Antràs & Davin Chor, 2021. "Global Value Chains," NBER Working Papers 28549, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Zi, Yuan, 2020. "Trade Liberalization and the Great Labor Reallocation," CEPR Discussion Papers 14490, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Yu, Zhen & Wu, Xiaoling & Li, Meng & Guo, Rufei, 2021. "Import competition and the gender gap in labor force participation: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    14. Giuntella, Osea & Rieger, Matthias & Rotunno, Lorenzo, 2020. "Weight gains from trade in foods: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C).
    15. Chad P. Bown & Paola Conconi & Aksel Erbahar & Lorenzo Trimarchi, 2020. "Trade Protection along Supply Chains," CESifo Working Paper Series 8812, CESifo.
    16. Kleinman, Benny & Liu, Ernest & Redding, Stephen, 2020. "International friends and enemies," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 108480, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    17. Emmanuel Dhyne & Ayumu Ken Kikkawa & Magne Mogstad & Felix Tintelnot, 2021. "Trade and Domestic Production Networks," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 88(2), pages 643-668.
    18. Rodrigo Adão & Costas Arkolakis & Federico Esposito, 2019. "General Equilibrium Effects in Space: Theory and Measurement," NBER Working Papers 25544, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Liu, Chen & Ma, Xiao, 2018. "China's Export Surge and the New Margins of Trade," MPRA Paper 103970, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Oct 2020.
    20. Artuc, Erhan & Porto, Guido & Rijkers, Bob, 2019. "Trading off the income gains and the inequality costs of trade policy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 1-45.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25638. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.