As the Trump administration considers major changes to U.S. trade relationships, there has never been a better time for a serious discussion of the history of trade policy and politics from America’s founding to the present. Douglas Irwin’s Clashing over Commerce: A History of U.S. Trade Policy, winner of the Manhattan Institute’s 2019 Hayek Prize, may well be the most authoritative such history ever written.
Trade policy has always been deeply contentious in the U.S. Should America be open to commerce with other countries, or should it protect domestic industries from foreign competition? One thing’s for sure: The political struggle between winners and losers from trade has always been fierce.
Douglas A. Irwin is the John French Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College, a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He is the author of, among others, Free Trade Under Fire (2015), Trade Policy Disaster: Lessons from the 1930s (2012), Peddling Protectionism: Smoot-Hawley and the Great Depression (2011), The Genesis of the GATT (2008), and Against the Tide: An Intellectual History of Free Trade (1996). Previously, Irwin taught at the University of Chicago and served as an advisor to President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers and to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. He holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University.