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Coping with Shocks and Shifts: The Multilateral Trading System in Historical Perspective

Douglas Irwin () and Kevin O'Rourke ()

No 17598, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: This paper provides a historical look at how the multilateral trading system has coped with the challenge of shocks and shifts. By shocks we mean sudden jolts to the world economy in the form of financial crises and deep recessions, or wars and political conflicts. By shifts we mean slow-moving, long-term changes in comparative advantage or shifts in the geopolitical equilibrium that force economies to undergo disruptive and potentially painful adjustments. We conclude that most shocks (financial crises and regional wars) have had relatively little effect on trade policy, but that shifts pose a greater challenge to the system of open, multilateral trade.

JEL-codes: F02 F13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his
Date: 2011-11
Note: ITI
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Published as Coping with Shocks and Shifts: The Multilateral Trading System in Historical Perspective , Douglas A. Irwin, Kevin H. O'Rourke. in Globalization in an Age of Crisis: Multilateral Economic Cooperation in the Twenty-First Century , Feenstra and Taylor. 2014

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Related works:
Chapter: Coping with Shocks and Shifts: The Multilateral Trading System in Historical Perspective (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: Coping with Shocks and Shifts: The Multilateral Trading System in Historical Perspective (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: Coping with Shocks and Shifts: The Multilateral Trading System in Historical Perspective Downloads
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