Thursday, September 17, 2009

Talkin' 'bout Trade Barriers

Economics is always more interesting when current events reinforce what we teach. Recent events on the trade front only give another example.

Here is a list of resources relating to the most recent trade dust-up with China. Many of them are from The Wall Street Journal, with a couple links to blogs, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Economist thrown in. Any of all of these can be used to discuss price distortions, comparative advantage, and the role of government in the economy. One of the WSJ links also includes a video.

The first link (free content at this writing), from WSJ is to an opinion piece that compares President Obama to President Hoover. It's an interesting idea that has me thinking. I'm not sure I agree yet, but...

Another link, this time from The Economist magazine, questions the President's commitment to free trade.

Next we have an article (free content at this writing) from WSJ that looks at protectionist measures more broadly. It contains a video, but the graphic was of greater interest to me. It looks at the number of protectionist measures that have been passed around the world and industries impacted.

This fourth piece, (free content at this writing) also from WSJ,  is just a straight piece on the tariff on Chinese tires. It's very basic and can be used as an introduction to the topic.

Fifth is a very good article from The New York Times on China's reaction to the tariff. It raises an important question regarding China's reaction and its role as a significant holder of U.S. debt. While the debt overhang is significant, it's not as large as many people believe.  Still, do you want to anger someone who is lending your money? That topic is delved into further with this piece from The Washington Post.

Finally, here are two blogs of interest. The first is from Realtime Economics, one of The Wall Street Journal's blogs. It discusses the reaction of various economists to the tariff.

And  by using links to other news stories, Greg Mankiw posits an interesting timeline. One of the things we like to ask our students to think about is coincidence, correlation and causation. I think it could provide some interesting opportunities for discussion.

Please let me know if you discover other links that we can share.

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