Tuck Prof. Talks Protectionism

Matthew Slaughter is a professor at the Tuck School of Business, and, until recently, he served on the Council of Economic Advisors to the president. He recently wrote in Tuck Today about the issues he sees that Washington needs to confront.

Since my return, the most common question I have gotten is, “So, how was it?” I am of two minds about it. On the one hand, it was great. Created in 1946, CEA has a long history among academic economists as a forum for applying academic scholarship and teaching to provide nonpartisan, nonpolitical input to the important policy challenges facing the country. I deeply appreciated Tuck’s granting me the ability to take a leave of absence for this service, and I am now enjoying bringing that service back to Tuck—through enriched teaching, new research ideas, and a broadened outreach to the business-policy community. But on the other hand, measured in terms of policy outcomes, my CEA tenure was not so great. In case you haven’t noticed, U.S. economic policy is becoming more protectionist by the day.

Trade Promotion Authority for the president expired on June 30, with no prospect for renewal. The 109th Congress introduced 27 pieces of anti-China trade legislation; the 110th introduced over a dozen in just its first three months; and more than one is likely to be law by year’s end. The Doha Development Round of WTO trade negotiations—the centerpiece of global trade liberalization—is years behind schedule and now on the brink of collapse. Scrutiny of inward foreign direct investment has risen. And efforts at comprehensive immigration reform, which would have expanded inflows in many ways, collapsed in July.

What does Slaughter think explains the protectionist drift? Go here to keep reading.