An Economic Analysis of the Jones Act

48 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2018

See all articles by Thomas J. Grennes

Thomas J. Grennes

North Carolina State University - Department of Economics

Date Written: 05/02/2017


The Jones Act, which requires the use of American ships on all domestic voyages, has been in place for nearly a century. Its purpose when enacted was to strengthen national security by creating a strong shipbuilding industry and merchant marine. But by denying American businesses access to the best shipping, the act has imposed large losses on American consumers. Recent developments in the world economy, including globalization of ownership, offshore outsourcing of ship components, and extensive use of flags of convenience, have made the act even more burdensome. Since recent contributions of the merchant marine to national security have been small or negative, major reform of the Jones Act is overdue. Such reform would be consistent with the goal of eliminating excessive regulation of the American economy.

Suggested Citation

Grennes, Thomas J., An Economic Analysis of the Jones Act (05/02/2017). MERCATUS RESEARCH, Available at SSRN: or

Thomas J. Grennes (Contact Author)

North Carolina State University - Department of Economics ( email )

4110 Nelson
Raleigh, NC 27695-8110
United States
919-513-2881 (Phone)
919-515-6268 (Fax)


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