Similarly, President Trump’s immigration and trade policies are based on flawed zero-sum thinking. Under the mistaken premise that all workers are competing for a fixed number of jobs, he concludes that keeping foreign workers out is good for Americans. He doesn’t see that voluntary transactions are positive sum and that immigrants increase the number of people available for Americans to cooperate with. For some jobs, foreign workers are better at cooperating with employers than American workers, and through that cooperation, the size of the pie grows. Similarly, by looking only at the competition imported Chinese goods pose for U.S. manufacturers, Trump ignores the fact that U.S. consumers benefit from being able to purchase those goods at lower prices than they could from U.S. firms. In Rubin’s framing, if foreign manufacturers are better at cooperating with U.S. consumers, that increases the size of the pie, and everyone benefits.
This phenomenon is particularly pronounced in Scandinavian countries where the benefits are more generous. For instance, while the share of female managers is 43% in the United States, it’s 28% in Denmark, 30% in Finland, 32% in Norway, and 36% in Sweden. These countries also have, relative to other developed nations, very low rates of women working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.