Trade Deficits, Free Trade Agreements, and the American Labor Market: A Debate

Jun 03, 2005


Dr. Russell Roberts
Professor of Economics and Smith Chair
Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Dr. Robert Scott
Director of International Programs
Economic Policy Institute

Click Here to listen to audio archive.

As U.S. trade deficits rise to record levels, concerns have grown that trade and trade deficits cost America jobs. Others argue that trade deficits have no impact on American jobs and that job growth and job losses are determined by other factors.

These different viewpoints clash on CAFTA, America’s trade relationship with China and general trade policy. In order to help congressional staff sort through these conflicting claims, the Mercatus Center’s Capitol Hill Campus will host a debate between international trade economists Russell Roberts and Robert Scott.

Participants in this program will gain a better understanding of the following questions:

  • Do trade deficits cost America jobs? Do trade agreements that lead to larger trade deficits cause job losses?
  • Are particular sectors such as manufacturing at risk because of trade deficits? What are the lessons of NAFTA and other trade agreements for the future of employment in the United States?
  • Will CAFTA make things better or worse?