Friday, January 27, 2017

Beneficios e custos da NAFTA para os EUA

What did NAFTA really do?, por Dani Rodrik (via Tyler Cowen):

Remember first that many advocates of NAFTA made at the outset some wildly optimistic claims about what NAFTA was going to achieve. The most extravagant of the studies, and the one that probably was the most widely circulated, was one produced at the Peterson Institute for International Economics (then just the Institute for International Economics). This study argued that NAFTA would be a net job creator for the U.S., thanks to a projected improvement in the U.S. balance of trade.(...)

This argument was always a red herring: trade agreements are not supposed to create net employment; they simply reshuffle employment. NAFTA neither subtracted, nor added substantial number of jobs to the U.S. economy. At best, it made the U.S. economy more efficient by reallocating workers to jobs that are more productive.

And certainly this happened. But the overall efficiency gains are quite small, much smaller than what the trade volume effects would lead you to believe. A recently published academic study by Lorenzo Caliendo and Fernando Parro uses all the bells-and-whistles of modern trade theory to produce the estimate that these overall gains amount to a “welfare” gain of 0.08% for the U.S. That is, eight-hundredth of 1 percent! (...)

A gain, no matter how small, is still a gain. What about the distributional impacts?

The most detailed empirical analysis of the labor-market effects of NAFTA is contained in a paper by John McLaren and Shushanik Hakobyan. They find that the aggregate effects were rather small (in line with other work), but that impacts on directly affected communities were quite severe. (...)

In other words, those high school dropouts who worked in industries protected by tariffs prior to NAFTA experienced reductions in wage growth by as much as 17 percentage points relative to wage growth in unaffected industries. I don’t think anyone can argue that a 17 percentage drop is small. As McLaren and Hakobyan emphasize, these losses were then propagated throughout the localities in which these workers lived.

So here is the overall picture that these academic studies paint for the U.S.: NAFTA produced large changes in trade volumes, tiny efficiency gains overall, and some very significant impacts on adversely affected communities.(...)

So is Trump deluded on NAFTA’s overall impact on manufacturing jobs? Absolutely, yes.

Was he able to capitalize on the very real losses that this and other trade agreements produced in certain parts of the country in a way that Democrats were unable to? Again, yes. 

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