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Exports, jobs, growth! Congressional hearings on US trade agreements

Jieun Lee and Iain Osgood

Economics and Politics, 2019, vol. 31, issue 1, 1-26

Abstract: Who testifies on US trade agreements before Congress and what do they say? We examine the content of Congressional testimony on US trade agreements, and the selection process which determines who testifies in the first place. We find that testimony is systematically tilted toward a sunny view of trade's positive economic effects, while import competition and offshoring are generally downplayed. We argue that trade's supporters strategically frame their motives for supporting trade agreements, and that pro‐trade committee chairs’ decisions on who testifies further skew testimony away from the distributive consequences of globalization within the United States. Congressional hearings on trade agreements therefore represent a key site where the influence of dominant pro‐trade interests is both revealed and reinforced.

Date: 2019
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