Protect Us from Protectionism

by Don Boudreaux on October 26, 2006

in Trade

Some facts reported in today’s Washington Times by my colleague Walter Williams:

No one denies that international trade has unpleasant consequences for
some workers. They have to find other jobs that might not pay as much,
but should we protect those jobs through trade restrictions?

The Washington-based Institute for International Economics has
assembled data that might help with the answer. Tariffs and quotas on
imported sugar saved 2,261 jobs during the 1990s. As a result of those
restrictions, the average household pays $21 more per year for sugar.
The total cost, nationally, sums to $826,000 for each job saved. Trade
restrictions on luggage saved 226 jobs and cost consumers $1.2 million
in higher prices for each job saved. Restrictions on apparel and
textiles saved 168,786 jobs at a cost of nearly $200,000 for each job


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