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Trade Policy Disaster: Lessons from the 1930s (Ohlin Lectures) by [Irwin, Douglas A.]
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Editorial Reviews


Douglas Irwin has emerged as the most influential economic historian of trade of his generation. Indeed, he ranks with the best scholars of international trade today. This splendid account of the 'trade wreck' of the 1930s shows why. It is masterly.

(Jagdish Bhagwati, University Professor, Columbia University)

The Great Credit Crisis of 2008-9 was the most serious financial crisis in nearly 80 years, but one respect in which we did better was in avoiding the disastrous trade policies of the 1930s. In this book Douglas Irwin explains why, shedding important new light on both that history and current policy.

(Barry Eichengreen, George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Political Science, University of California, Berkeley)

There was much less resort to protectionist measures in the Great Recession than there was in the Great Depression. Douglas Irwin carefully reviews the disastrous protectionist policies of the 1930s and shows that countries that persisted in fixed exchange rates heightened protection much more than those that abandoned a peg. He concludes that the difference in 2007-9 was in significant part because many more countries had flexible exchange rates. This is a very important finding, and the book is a must-read for all those concerned with macroeconomic, trade, and exchange rate policy.

(Anne Krueger, Professor of International Economics, Johns Hopkins University, and Herald L. and Caroline Ritch Emeritus Professor of Sciences and Humanities, Stanford University)

Douglas Irwin's book reminds us why we should pay attention to the lessons of history. He recounts how policy constraints, combined with the orthodoxy to exert pressure on open trade relations in the 1930s, led to a fiasco that took decades to reverse. Irwin argues that the non-trade policy options available today have saved us so far from a protectionist explosion in the wake of the Great Recession. The danger of protectionism still haunts us today, and its impact could be even greater, given the role of global production chains today. This is an innovative book that helps us to understand and anticipate the policy reflexes of governments.

(Pascal Lamy, Director-General, World Trade Organization)

About the Author

Douglas A. Irwin is Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College. He is the author of Free Trade under Fire, Peddling Protectionism: Smoot-Hawley and the Great Depression, and other books.

Product details

  • File Size: 5786 KB
  • Print Length: 211 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0262016710
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (October 21, 2011)
  • Publication Date: October 21, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0073WI2BM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,533,817 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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