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Trade Liberalization versus Protectionism: Dynamic Welfare Asymmetries
We investigate whether the losses from an increase in trade costs (protectionism) are equal to the gains from a symmetric decrease in trade costs (liberalization). We incorporate dynamics through capital accumulation into a standard Armington trade model and show that the welfare changes are asymmetric: Losses from protectionism are smaller than the gains from liberalization. In contrast, standard static trade models imply that the losses equal the gains. The intuition for asymmetry in our model is that, following protectionism, the economy can coast off of previously accumulated capital ...