Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Economists on trade deals

This comes from Greg Mankaw's blog:
The new IGM Panel poll of prominent economists asks about this proposition:
An important reason why many workers in Michigan and Ohio have lost jobs in recent years is because US presidential administrations over the past 30 years have not been tough enough in trade negotiations.
Only 5 percent agree, while 64 percent disagree. (The rest were uncertain or did not answer.) A previous poll asked about this statement:
Past major trade deals have benefited most Americans.
On this one, 83 percent agreed, and zero percent disagreed.
With regard to the first poll mentioned, David Cutler, who "agreed" with the statement made an interesting comment,
The phrasing implies that any reduction in jobs is bad. Some shifts in employment are valuable (e.g., fewer sweatshop jobs in the US).
So there may be good even in the bad.

When the responses to this poll are weighted by each expert's confidence, those who "agree" falls to 3%. In both weighted and unweighted responses 0% "strongly agree". The weighted "disagrees" is 86%. So those who disagree are confident in their position.

So the vast majority of economists see advantages in trade deals, even if non-economists don't.

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