National Welfare in an Open Economy in the Presence of Foreign-owned Factors of Production

Bhagwati, Jagdish N.; Brecher, Richard A.

In the presence of foreign-owned factors of production in the economy, the effect of trade policy changes on national welfare needs to take into account the possible redistributive effect between foreign-owned and domestic factors. Therefore, an otherwise welfare-improving trade liberalization may paradoxically worsen national welfare. This paper analyzes this important, new area of trade theory and establishes the condition under which this paradox of immiserizing trade liberalization arises. The analysis is also applicable to analyzing the effects of external tariff variation in customs unions, with full internal factor mobility, on member countries' welfare.



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Journal of International Economics

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January 31, 2013