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Some workers and firms will suffer because of international trade. In a living, breathing market-oriented economy, some workers and firms will always be experiencing disruptions, for a wide variety of reasons. Corporate management can be better or worse. Workers for a certain firm can be more productive or less. Tough domestic competitors can create just as much disruption as tough foreign competitors. Sometimes a new product is a hit with consumers; sometimes it is a flop. Sometimes a company is blessed by a run of good luck or stricken with a run of bad luck. For some firms, international trade will offer great opportunities for expanding productivity and jobs; for other firms, trade will impose stress and pain. The disruption caused by international trade is not fundamentally different from all the other disruptions caused by the other workings of a market economy.

In other words, the economic analysis of free trade does not rely on a belief that foreign trade is not disruptive or does not pose tradeoffs; indeed, the story of Technotron begins with a particular disruptive market change    —a new technology—that causes real tradeoffs. In thinking about the disruptions of foreign trade, or any of the other possible costs and tradeoffs of foreign trade discussed in this chapter, the best public policy solutions typically do not involve protectionism, but instead involve finding ways for public policy to address the particular issues, while still allowing the benefits of international trade to occur.

What’s the downside of protection?

The domestic flat-panel display industry employed many workers before the ITC imposed the dumping margin tax. Flat-panel displays make up a significant portion of the cost of producing laptop computers—as much as 50%. Therefore, the antidumping tax would substantially increase the cost, and thus the price, of U.S.-manufactured laptops. As a result of the ITC’s decision, Apple moved its domestic manufacturing plant for Macintosh computers to Ireland (where it had an existing plant). Toshiba shut down its U.S. manufacturing plant for laptops. And IBM cancelled plans to open a laptop manufacturing plant in North Carolina, instead deciding to expand production at its plant in Japan. In this case, rather than having the desired effect of protecting U.S. interests and giving domestic manufacturing an advantage over items manufactured elsewhere, it had the unintended effect of driving the manufacturing completely out of the country. Many people lost their jobs and most flat-panel display production now occurs in countries other than the United States.

Key concepts and summary

International trade certainly has income distribution effects. This is hardly surprising. All domestic or international competitive market forces are disruptive. They cause companies and industries to rise and fall. Government has a role to play in cushioning workers against the disruptions of the market. However, just as it would be unwise in the long term to clamp down on new technology and other causes of disruption in domestic markets, it would be unwise to clamp down on foreign trade. In both cases, the disruption brings with it economic benefits.

References

E. Helpman, and O. Itskhoki, “Labour Market Rigidities, Trade and Unemployment,” The Review of Economic Studies , 77. 3 (2010): 1100-1137.

M.J. Melitz, and D. Trefler. “Gains from Trade when Firms Matter.” The Journal of Economic Perspectives , 26.2 (2012): 91-118.

Rauch, J. “Was Mancur Olson Wrong?” The American , February 15, 2013. http://www.american.com/archive/2013/february/was-mancur-olson-wrong.

Office of the United States Trade Representative. “U.S. Trade Representative Froman Announces FY 2014 WTO Tariff-Rate Quota Allocations for Raw Cane Sugar, Refined and Specialty Sugar and Sugar-Containing Products.”Accessed January 6, 2014. http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/press-office/press-releases/2013/september/WTO-trq-for-sugar.

The World Bank. “Merchandise trade (% of GDP).” Accessed January 4, 2014. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/TG.VAL.TOTL.GD.ZS.

World Trade Organization. 2014. “Annual Report 2014.” Accessed April 1, 2015. https://www.wto.org/english/res_e/booksp_e/anrep_e/anrep14_chap10_e.pdf.

Questions & Answers

since price controls enacted by the government always has an unintended effects, the best way to control the market is to allow economic activities to run their cause
Japheth Reply
Microeconomics is the Study of allocating limited resources to solve the problems of optimizations.Explain this statement with suitable example.
Aruna Reply
Microeconomics is called price theory.Why?
Aruna
because it is a individual theory producer can set price acc to his benefit
mithlesh
who was the father of macroeconomics?
Eyob Reply
Alfred Marshall
Aruna
John Maynard Keynes
hosneara
What is economic
rafi Reply
Economy is everything...
Htoo
An economy is an area of the production, distribution and trade, as well as consumption of goods and services by different agents. In general, it is defined 'as a social domain that emphasize the practices, discourses, and material expressions associated with the production, use, and management of
Muhammad
Thanks
Abdullahi
will I be able to get Macroeconomic book?
Dhieumarial Reply
difference between monopolistic competition and monopolist markets
Nancy Reply
Cardinal utility theory assumes that consumers can
Siphelele Reply
why are price ceiling and price floor said to be efficient?
Mariateretia Reply
they are called inefficient, price floor or a price ceiling will prevent a market from adjusting to its equilibrium price and quantity, thus creating an inefficient outcome.
Stuti
please how did we get fixed cost, marginal and average cost. thanks
Onovo Reply
can any one help me solve pie chart, bar chart and histogram. thanks
Onovo
any answers please, thank you
Onovo
solution on average cost and marginal cost
Onovo
p= -10+0.05p
Dil
Create the supply curve
Dil
plz help..
Dil
are u sure that it is p? it should have two variables. Qd should be there too
Stuti
if you have two variable, put different values of p to get q and you will have coordinates that u can use to make the supply curve.
Stuti
Fixed cost remain constant,when we r going to gain marginal cost so we should increase in additional unit/variables to get marginal cost with the increase in mc then we easily get average cost
Bilal
Answer the below question to best of your ability by employing the tax concept and supply and demand Suppose the supply of tobacco is elastic and the demand for tobacco is inelastic. If an excise tax is levied on the suppliers of tobacco, will the incidence fall mostly on consumers or mostly on pro
Carolyn Reply
first you suppose the demand for tobacco is elastic that means if price change more change would occur in demand and second you suppose tax has been lived on suppliers that means the price of tobacco will rise up and it's demand will decline that means consumer will start consuming less
Wani
what is perfect competition
Masciline Reply
perfect competition is the form of market where sellers are selling homogeneous product to buyers homogeneous product means a product which is same colour ,same brand and same cost has been used .
Wani
WHAT IS OPPORTUNITY COST AND GIVE EXAMPLES
Werku Reply
What Is opportunity cost and give examples fot it?
Werku
Opportunity cost means profit of what you have give up in order to choose something else
Wani
example of opportunity cost . we take example of land.As land have alternative uses it can be use for production , for building factories on it or for construction of house . suppose you are the owner of land and you build house on it that means you give up the benefit which you may get in produ
Wani
the benefit which you didn't get in production or in building factories is called opportunity cost
Wani
opportunity cost is the cost of what you give up to get something. example: if u wanna buy an apple and a mango and end up buying only a mango. your opportunity cost is the cost of the Apple the you've given up
ebrima
define marginal rate of substitution
Roshan Reply
marginal rate of substitution
Lengha
The rate at which one product can be substituted for another is called MRS.
Ramachandra
how much additional units of a product under consideration is required to deliver the same level of satisfaction that one derives from an additional unit of a given product.
Simply untill the satisfaction one icreased another decreased also depends upon the satisfaction power of a commodity
Bilal
Why indifference curve does not intersect x axis and y axis
Bilal
If the two products are perfect substitutes it will touch both axis. In your question, it is assumed that these are not perfect substitutes. If it touches any axis, it shows that with the given quantity of one product alone gives the same level of satisfaction.
Ramachandra
the intersection at the axis would mean that the product is perfectly substitutable and hence the indifference analysis is non-existent.
what industry monopolies belongs
Gwayi Reply
what are the causes of shift in demand curve to the right
Gideon Reply
what industry monopolies belongs
Gwayi

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Source:  OpenStax, Microeconomics. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11627/1.10
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