On unequal gains from trade

In: Uncategorized

5 Feb 2008

Even free market economists are rethinking their outright support for free trade according to an article in Business Week (31 January). Worries focus on the alleged impact of trade growth in widening inequalities: “concern is rising that the gains from free trade may increasingly be going to a small group at the top. For the vast majority of Americans, Dartmouth’s [Matthew J ] Slaughter points out, income growth has all but disappeared in recent years. And it’s not just the low-skilled who are getting slammed. Inflation-adjusted earnings have fallen in every educational category other than the 4% who hold doctorates or professional degrees. Such numbers, Slaughter argues, suggest the share of Americans who aren’t included in the gains from trade may be very big. ‘[That’s] a very important change from earlier generations, and it should give pause to people who say they know what’s going on,’ he says.”

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