May 14, 2009

Shadow committee on US trade policy

I have recently heard complaints that the Obama administration lacks a trade policy. Well that may change soon; Gordon Hanson has just set up a shadow committee on US trade policy and it includes most heavyweight trade economists in the US. The list includes Rigotnomics' favourite Shang-Jin Wei and also Bagwell and Staiger, Grossman, Matt Slaughter...

On an online forum they are discussing trade policy questions and getting their hands dirty by making specific policy recommendations. Rodrik, for example suggested that the US could only gain from further liberalization in agriculture and on visa restirctions of high-skilled foreigners. Ann Harrison went as far as saying that a wise policy for the US government would be to encourage offshoring in wealthy countries (which raises US manufacturing employment) and to discourage offshoring in low income countries! James Harrigan didn't agree at all. Gene Grossman wants free trade and to focus on home policies such as a social safety net for displaced workers.

This is how economic policy should be done.

1 comment:

Sebastian said...

you mean many opinions and no clear answers?

No, i agree: policy needs debate. But it needs also a way to get to a final answer. Unfortunately, compromise is sometimes not the bets way..