Jaime de Melo, Jean-Marc Solleder, 13 March 2019

Developing countries have not participated in the WTO-led negotiations aimed at bringing down barriers to trade in environmental goods. If negotiations conclude, would the win for trade and for the environment be extended to a win for developing countries? This column draws insights from a newly assembled comprehensive dataset on barriers to trade in environmental goods and provides evidence that tariffs and non-tariff barriers are still an impediment to trade while similar regulations stimulate it. A larger list of environmental goods would entice developing-country participation, but this will also require protecting developing countries from challenges at the WTO.

Yasuyuki Todo, 27 February 2019

Davide Furceri, Swarnali Ahmed Hannan, Jonathan D. Ostry, Andrew Rose, 27 February 2019

It seems an appropriate time to study what, if any, have been the macroeconomic consequences of tariffs in practice. Using a straightforward methodology to estimate flexible impulse response functions, and data that span several decades and 151 countries, this column finds that tariff increases have, on average, engendered adverse macroeconomic and distributional consequences: a fall in output and labour productivity, higher unemployment, higher inequality, and negligible effects on the trade balance (likely owing to real exchange rate appreciation when tariffs rise). The aversion of the economics profession to the deadweight loss caused by protectionism seems warranted.

Antoine Berthou, Caroline Jardet, Daniele Siena, Urszula Szczerbowicz, 08 February 2019

Escalating tensions between the US and its trading partners have made a global trade war more likely. In addition to the direct effect due to the increase in tariffs, a trade war may also affect GDP via indirect channels, such as a drop in productivity due to uncertainty and changes in the production environment. Using a multi-country model, this column shows that a global and generalised 10 percentage point increase in tariffs could reduce the level of global GDP by almost 2.0% on impact and up to 3.0% after two years, when all the additional indirect channels materialise. 

Steven Brakman, Harry Garretsen, Tristan Kohl, 01 December 2018

Massimiliano Calì, 16 October 2018

The US-China trade war has rapidly escalated, promising to disrupt trade flows between the two countries and beyond. This column provides the first estimates of trade and investment effects of the trade war on East Asia, one of the most exposed regions. By combining trade and tariff data, it provides some order of magnitude of the expected effects and identifies the possible winners and losers from the trade war in the region.

Menzie Chinn, 08 October 2018

Eric Bond, Mario Crucini, Tristan Potter, Joel Rodrigue, 27 September 2018

The Trump administration’s recent tariff increases have prompted comparisons to interwar tariff history. This column investigates tariffs during this period, drawing out lessons on their macroeconomic impacts for the US and its trade partners. The recessionary impact of recent tariffs is likely to be smaller and less widespread than those imposed during the interwar period, provided that tariff levels don’t escalate too dramatically through retaliation.

Hylke Vandenbussche, William Connell, Wouter Simons, 24 August 2018

While talks of a preferential agreement between the US and EU were put aside when President Trump came in office, the presidents of the two trading partners have recently expressed a new desire to aim for zero tariffs and non-tariff measures between them. This column estimates the gains from such a deal, taking into account global value chains and input-output linkages in production. It finds that free trade would substantially benefit both the EU and the US, and these gains would result from the reduction in non-tariff barriers rather than tariffs. 

Alessandro Barattieri, Matteo Cacciatore, Fabio Ghironi, 10 August 2018

Populist politicians argue that protectionism stimulates the domestic economy. This column uses data on temporary trade barriers from antidumping investigations to show that when small open economies have imposed protectionist measures, it has caused inflation to rise and real economic activity to fall. Empirical analysis and model-based exercises show that protectionism is costly even when used temporarily, even for economies stuck in liquidity traps, and regardless of the flexibility of the exchange rate.

Yi Huang, Chen Lin, Sibo Liu, Heiwai Tang, 10 August 2018

Tariffs intended to reduce competition from foreign firms can backfire by also raising the costs of imported inputs for domestic firms. This column examines the market responses to the Trump administration’s initial and subsequent announcements of tariffs on imports from China. US firms that are more dependent on exports to and imports from China experienced lower stock and bond returns but higher default risks around the date of the announcement. Firms’ indirect exposure to US-China trade through domestic input-output linkages affects their responses to the announcements. 

Chad Bown, Eva (Yiwen) Zhang, 31 July 2018

Dennis Novy, 27 July 2018

When President Trump recently spoke of his hope for "a great bilateral trade agreement” with the UK after Brexit, what did he really mean? Dennis Novy of the University of Warwick describes what these political good intentions may look like in reality, the problems that both sides will have to solve to agree a UK-US deal, and the factors that might derail any agreement.

Chad Bown, Euijin Jung, Zhiyao (Lucy) Lu, 26 July 2018

Caroline Freund, Michael Ferrantino, Maryla Maliszewska, Michele Ruta, 24 July 2018

Gabriel Felbermayr, Jens Südekum, 28 June 2018

Jeffrey Frankel, 27 June 2018

Brian Varian, 23 June 2018

Brexit has sparked interest in trade agreements between Britain and the Commonwealth. This has a precedent in the Edwardian era, when the Dominions adopted policies of imperial preference toward imports from Britain. This column argues that New Zealand’s policy of imperial preference, enacted in 1903, was ineffective in diverting trade toward Britain, suggesting that trade policies within the British Empire or Commonwealth do not always achieve what they intend. 

Chad Bown, Euijin Jung, Zhiyao (Lucy) Lu, 19 June 2018

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