An Overview of the Modeling of the Choices and Consequences of U.S. Trade Policy
Discussion Paper No. 400
36 Pages Posted: 30 May 1998
Date Written: May 28, 1997
Our paper is designed to provide the context for the theme of the conference, "The Representation of Constituent Interests in the Design and Implementation of U.S. Trade Policies." We begin by reviewing the normative and political economy approaches to the modeling of trade policies. We identify the major limitations of these approaches and then discuss what Dixit (1996) has referred to as the "transaction-cost approach," which may provide a middle ground between the other approaches and enable us to address some hitherto imperfectly understood issues of trade policy. We also include a brief discussion of the empirical literature pertinent to the normative and political economy approaches. We then turn to a sketch of the main features of the U.S. trade-policy process, focusing in particular on the roles played by the agencies of government together with the important constituent interest groups in the U.S. economy. We consider how these can be interpreted in the light of the modeling approaches, and we also ask what can be learned from the past half-century of U.S. trade policy experiences.
JEL Classification: F10, F14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
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