October 12, 2003

Look at Migration, Technology Transfer, and Financial Crises

Richard Freeman says, "Stop spending so much time thinking about the WTO. Technology transfer, international migration, and financial crises have orders of magnitude more important impacts on human welfare and the state of the economy."

I think he's probably right:

Trade Wars: The Exaggerated Impact of Trade in Economic Debate: ...Comparing the claims made in this debate with the outcomes of trade agreements, this paper finds that the debate has exaggerated the effects of trade on economies and the labor market. Changes in trade policy have had modest impacts on labour market. Other aspects of globalization -- immigration, capital flows, and technology transfer -- have greater impacts, with volatile capital flows creating great risk for the well-being of workers. As for labor standards, global standards do not threaten the comparative advantage of developing countries nor do poor labor standards create a 'race to the bottom'.

Posted by DeLong at October 12, 2003 03:50 PM | TrackBack

Comments

Am I right to translate this as "worry more about international patent policies"?

Posted by: Michael Froomkin on October 12, 2003 05:36 PM

Then we had better figure out how to transfer technology to the people of southern Africa! This is a matter of dire importance.

Posted by: anne on October 13, 2003 08:46 AM

Doesn't this go back to Hecksher and Ohlin? Did they not talk about the virtues of factor mobility and then opine that free trade in goods tend to accomplish similar results?

Posted by: Hal McClure on October 13, 2003 11:40 AM

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that much of the recent trade liberalization has less to do with lowering the barriers to trade in real goods, or the mobility of capital, but with what might be called "international investment insurance." This would change the terms of captial contracts regarding who bears how much risk. Does anyone agree? If so, does anyone think that it is important?

Posted by: jml on October 13, 2003 11:42 AM

Doesn't this go back to Hecksher and Ohlin? Did they not talk about the virtues of factor mobility and then opine that free trade in goods tend to accomplish similar results?

Posted by: Hal McClure on October 13, 2003 11:43 AM

Well, well. Another example of the 'more heat than light' debate meaning people miss out on the big issues. I am honoured to find myself alone in the company of Michael and Anne here.

Michael, I would say you lost something in the translation. I would say, rather, labour migration and learning by doing.

The same for Anne, it is not us who have to figure this out, but the people of south africa, by definition you cannot have surrogate learning by doing: not even from 'big mummy'.

Posted by: Edward Hugh on October 17, 2003 12:59 AM
Post a comment