Trade Wars: The Exaggerated Impact of Trade in Economic Debate
Richard B. Freeman
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); University of Edinburgh - School of Social and Political Studies; Harvard University; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
NBER Working Paper No. w10000
The rules governing trade and capital flows have been at the center of controversy as globalization has proceeded. One reason is the belief that trade and capital flows have massive effects on the labor market -- either positive, per the claims of international financial institutions and free trade enthusiasts, or negative, per the ubiquitous protestors at WTO, IMF, and World Bank meetings demanding global labor standards. Comparing the claims made in this debate with the outcomes of trade agreements, this paper finds that the debate has exaggerated the effects of trade on economies and the labor market. Changes in trade policy have had modest impacts on labour market. Other aspects of globalization -- immigration, capital flows, and technology transfer -- have greater impacts, with volatile capital flows creating great risk for the well-being of workers. As for labor standards, global standards do not threaten the comparative advantage of developing countries nor do poor labor standards create a race to the bottom'.
Institutional subscribers to the NBER working paper series, and residents of developing countries may download this paper without additional charge at www.nber.org.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35working papers series
Date posted: September 28, 2003
© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This page was processed by apollo4 in 0.375 seconds