Monday, 21 September 2015

Questions on trade

Tyler Cowen – for his upcoming conversation at the Mercatus Center with Dani Rodrik – asked on his blog for suggestions of questions that he might put to Professor Rodrik. Don Boudreaux suggested that Tyler ask Professor Rodrik the following question:
Rodrik was quoted in a 2007 New York Times report as saying that, while he follows the methods of modern economics, he rejects the “faith” [his word] – that says, among other things, that free trade is always good. And, of course, Rodrik is known for his ‘heterodox’ refusal to join in mainstream economists’ embrace of free trade.

So, ask Rodrik if economists who embrace free trade within a country are guilty of faith-based policy recommendations in the same way that he thinks economists who embrace free trade between countries are guilty of faith-based policy recommendations? If he answers no, ask him to summarize the relevant differences that separate intranational from international trade, and press him explain why these differences are real or strong enough to shift the burden of persuasion away from those who oppose a general policy of free trade and onto supporters of free trade.
Rodrik's answer to this question is given here. While Boudreaux's response to this answer is here.

A discussion well worth following.

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