Dynamist Blog


International trade doesn't just lower prices. It increases variety, to the enormous benefit of consumersh. My latest NYT column is on economic research that estimates the size of that gain.

Champagne from France. Silk sweaters from China. Winter blueberries from Chile. Video games from Japan. Beer from Ireland. Silver jewelry from India. Cellphones from South Korea. Shoes from Italy.

International trade does not just offer consumers the same goods at lower prices, which is the traditional economic story. It also brings us goods we wouldn't otherwise have access to. Trade increases the number of varieties in the marketplace. It gives consumers more choices.

"The U.S. used to import coffee from around 25 countries," says David E. Weinstein, an economist at Columbia University. "Now we import it from 52 countries. Beer we import from three times more countries than we used to."

Read the rest here.

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