NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Lawrence Edwards

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Working Papers

December 2010AGOA Rules: The Intended and Unintended Consequences of Special Fabric Provisions
with Robert Z. Lawrence: w16623
Lesotho and other least developed African countries responded impressively to the preferences they were granted under the African Growth and Opportunities Act with a rapid increase in their clothing exports to the US. But this performance has not been accompanied by some of the more dynamic growth benefits that might have been hoped for. In this study we develop the theory and present empirical evidence to demonstrate that these outcomes are the predictable consequences of the manner in which the specific preferences might be expected to work. The MFA (Multi-fiber Arrangement) quotas on US imports of textiles created a favorable environment for low value-added, fabric-intensive clothing production in countries with unused quotas by inducing constrained countries to move into higher qual...
June 2010Do Developed and Developing Countries Compete Head to Head in High-tech?
with Robert Z. Lawrence: w16105
Concerns that (1) growth in developing countries could worsen the US terms of trade and (2) that increased US trade with developing countries will increase US wage inequality both implicitly reflect the assumption that goods produced in the United States and developing countries are close substitutes and that specialization is incomplete. In this paper we show on the contrary that there are distinctive patterns of international specialization and that developed and developing countries export fundamentally different products, especially those classified as high tech. Judged by export shares, the United States and developing countries specialize in quite different product categories that, for the most part, do not overlap. Moreover, even when exports are classified in the same category,...
US Trade and Wages: The Misleading Implications of Conventional Trade Theory
with Robert Z. Lawrence: w16106
Conventional trade theory, which combines the Heckscher-Ohlin theory and the Stolper-Samuelson theorem, implies that expanded trade between developed and developing countries will increase wage inequality in the developed countries. This theory is widely applied. It serves as the basis for estimating the impact of trade on wages using two-sector simulation models and the net factor content of trade. It leads naturally to the presumption that the rapid growth and declining relative prices of US manufactured imports from developing countries since the 1990s have been a powerful source of increased US wage inequality. In this study we present evidence that suggests the presumption is not warranted. We highlight the sensitivity of conventional theory to the assumption of incomplete special...
December 2006South African Trade Policy Matters: Trade Performance and Trade Policy
with Robert Z. Lawrence: w12760
South African trade policy has exerted a major influence on the composition and aggregate growth of trade. In the Apartheid period, trade protection seriously impeded both exports and imports, and the economy depended on favorable global commodity price trends to avoid running into an external constraint. South Africa developed a comparative advantage in capital-intensive primary and manufactured commodities partly because of its natural resource endowments but also because the pattern of protection was particularly detrimental to exports of non-commodity manufactured goods. High and opaque tariffs seriously impeded export growth. When global commodity markets were weak, in combination with declining gold exports, this seriously constrained aggregate growth and dulled the response of expo...

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