US-China Trade Policies: the Nuclear — and Near-nuclear — Options

Substantial attention has been devoted to the disasterous effects of implementing a Donald Trump agenda of imposing 45% tariffs on imports of goods from China. To gain some perspective, consider the implications for prices of goods imported from China if such a tariff were imposed (and a large country assumption used, so that only half of the tariff increase manifested in increased prices).

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Figure 1: Price of Chinese commodity imports, 2003M12=100, with 2016M03 values at 2016M02 values (bold blue), and a 22.5% higher price level as of 2017M02 assuming the half of incidence falls on the US (red). Light green shaded area denotes projection period. Vertical axis is logarithmic. Source: BLS, and author’s calculations.

Obviously, drop the large country assumption, and the resulting price increase can be up to 45%.

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Uber efficiency

Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are using a vastly more efficient technology for matching people who want a ride with people who want to drive them than was available when the taxi radio dispatch systems were set up in the 1940s.
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