John Van Reenen, 17 February 2012

The Great Recession has beckoned the ominous return of protectionism. While not condoning such policies, this column argues that if governments must provide investment subsidies to domestic firms, there is a much larger bang for their buck if they target small businesses rather than larger ones. Cash-strapped governments should take note.

Gilbert Metcalf, 27 June 2009

Nearly all economists agree that the most efficient way to address environmental problems is to raise the cost of the pollution-generating activity, but US policies subsidise clean-energy alternatives instead. This column criticizes that approach – subsidies lower the cost of energy, play favourites with technologies, are often inframarginal, and frequently interact in unexpected ways with other policies.

Richard Newfarmer, Elisa Gamberoni, 04 March 2009

Trade protection is on the rise around the world and risks pushing the economy into prolonged contraction. Officials have proposed more than 60 new trade restrictions since the beginning of the financial crisis. While a serious outbreak of protectionism has yet to occur, vigilance and leadership are required.

Sourafel Girma, Yundan Gong, Holger Görg, Zhihong Yu, 08 July 2008

China has largely reduced the scope of its production and innovation subsidies at the firm level, but some still remain. Recent research shows that such production subsidies do, on average, boost firm-level exports especially in more innovative and capital-intensive industries and especially for firms with previous export experience.

Kym Anderson, L Alan Winters, 21 April 2008

Current prospects for liberalisation of barriers to international trade and migration seem dim. In this column, the authors of the Copenhagen Consensus paper on global economic integration outline the magnitude of the gains that politicians are opposing.

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