Would any economist defend “Buy American”?

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Jagdish Bhagwati, Douglas Irwin, and Susan Schwab are debating the merits of “Buy American” against Leo Gerard (United Steelworkers), John MacArthur (Harper’s Magazine), and Jeff Madrick (New York Review of Books) at NYU on Monday evening. NPR should post the podcast shortly thereafter.

The opposition’s lack of economists is notable, but I have yet to read an economist defend the “Buy American” clause, so you can’t blame the Intelligence Squared event organizers for the unbalanced panel. When Bhagwati and Stiglitz agree that a policy is foolish, you can be pretty confident it is.

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4 Responses to “Would any economist defend “Buy American”?”

  1. Leigh Caldwell Says:

    I’m not sure if this counts as a defence – in fact he later said that it’s not – but here are some comments from Paul Krugman:

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/01/protectionism-and-stimulus-wonkish/

    http://www.knowingandmaking.com/2009/01/buy-american-clause.html

  2. Emmanuel Says:

    Dean Baker

  3. jdingel Says:

    Emmanuel,
    Even Dean Baker only attacks the inconsistency of preferential treatment for banks but not steel producers, as he usually does with regard to protectionism.

  4. DRDR Says:

    The transcript is here: http://intelligencesquaredus.org/transcripts/092109-Buy-American.pdf

    I just happened to find it on Bloomberg while I was flipping channels.

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