Does “Buy American” boost US manufacturing employment?


A new Chicago Booth website polls expert economists on public policy issues. It recently asked people to strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statement:

Federal mandates that government purchases should be “buy American” unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, have a significant positive impact on U.S. manufacturing employment.

Here are two responses that caught my eye:

Participant Vote Confidence Comment
Daron Acemoglu Agree 6
4 years ago I would have disagreed. Recent evidence (Autor Dorn Hanson) suggests yes.Caveat: costs from higher prices & other inefficiencies
-see background information here
David Autor Disagree 4
Hard to believe this does much at all. But I’m speaking based on my prior. I’ve not seen any rigorous analysis.

The aggregate outcomes were:

IGM Buy American poll