International trade

Lee Branstetter, Brian Kovak, Jackie Mauro, Ana Venâncio, 01 December 2019

China’s rise as an export powerhouse has affected labour markets across the Western world, but the effects appear to differ dramatically across countries. This column evaluates the impact of rising Chinese exports on Portuguese employment, finding that labour market effects are shaped by indirect competition and labour market regulation.

Emily Blanchard, Chad Bown, Davin Chor, 26 November 2019

Just over a year ago, congressional Democrats took majority control of the US House of Representatives. This column examines the relationship between local exposure to President Trump’s trade war and US voting patterns, and suggests that the producer-side consequences of the trade war may have been responsible for five of the 40 seats lost by Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections. The combination of the trade war and attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act may have cost the Republicans as many as 15 House seats.

Andrea Ariu, Katariina Nilsson Hakkala , J. Bradford Jensen, Saara Tamminen, 22 November 2019

Global trade in services increased six-fold between 1990-2017, representing a threat for workers but a growth opportunity for firms that source these services at lowest cost. This column examines the changes in employment composition and performance of Finnish service importers. Firms that increased imports of service inputs reduced employment of low-skill service workers but increased employment of managers. They also improved their sales, assets, and service exports, and were more likely to survive.

Menzie Chinn, Hiro Ito, 21 November 2019

Global imbalances have reappeared, somewhat transformed, and relocated. Using data from developing and industrialised countries covering 1972-2016, this column shows that fiscal factors, rather than savings glut variables, have accounted for a noticeable share of the recent variation in imbalances, including in the US and Germany. The contribution of demographic factors is large for industrialised countries but not for emerging markets. Net official flows shape global imbalances in both developing and industrialised countries. 

Matteo Fiorini, Bernard Hoekman, Petros Mavroidis, Maarja Saluste, Robert Wolfe, 20 November 2019

The WTO dispute settlement system is in crisis, endangering the future of the organisation. The proximate reason for alarm is the dwindling number of Appellate Body members, the result of the US blocking new appointments as the terms of sitting members expire. The crisis usually is presented as the US against the world. This column reports on the results of a recent survey of WTO Members’ perceptions of the Appellate Body and the role it plays (or should play). Responses reveal strong support for the basic design of the dispute settlement system, but also that the US is not alone in perceiving that the Body has gone beyond its mandate.

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