Departure from Free Trade: A Survey

24 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2003

See all articles by Arye L. Hillman

Arye L. Hillman

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: January 2003


This Paper surveys the ways in which departures from free trade have been treated in economic analysis. Normative theories linked to classical arguments have shown how departure from free trade can enhance efficiency and increase social welfare. Positive perspectives with links to political-economy premises of public choice view departure from free trade as socially undesirable and consider why governments nonetheless at times choose not to adhere to free trade. In the first case, models propose how choosing to depart from free trade can be in the public interest. In the second case, decisions by government to depart from free trade are viewed as compromising the public interest. The distinctions provide the basis for an interpretive path through the literature on international trade policy.

Keywords: Free trade, protection, strategic trade policy, public interest, political interests, special interests

JEL Classification: F13

Suggested Citation

Hillman, Arye L., Departure from Free Trade: A Survey (January 2003). Available at SSRN:

Arye L. Hillman (Contact Author)

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Economics ( email )

Ramat-Gan, 52900
+97 29 774 6424 (Phone)
+97 29 771 5628 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

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