最近紹介した実証分析を巡る議論は、Russ Robertsの見たAutor-Dorn-Hanson論文を巡る論争が一つのきっかけとなっていたが、ノアピニオン氏が David Autorに直接取材したブルームバーグ論説を書いている

If empirical studies can lead top mainstream economists to question this once-universal belief, then the profession really is shifting from theory to evidence. With this in mind, I recently contacted Autor to ask him how his research on China has altered his own thinking about the costs and benefits of trade.
Autor told me that he had been astonished by his own findings. Autor, like most top economists, was once an orthodox thinker on the trade issue. He had expected American workers would adjust well to the shock of Chinese imports, finding other jobs for similar wages after a short period of dislocation. That was largely what happened in the 1980s and 1990s in response to Japanese and European competition. Instead, he and his co-authors found that trade with China in the 2000s left huge swathes of the U.S. workforce permanently without good jobs -- or, in many cases, jobs at all.
This sort of concentrated economic devastation sounds like it would hurt not just people’s pocketbooks, but the social fabric. In a series of follow-up papers, Autor and his team link Chinese import competition to declining marriage rates and political polarization. Autor told me that these social ills make the need for new thinking about trade policy even more urgent. A large population of angry, unmarried men with deteriorating career prospects is a dangerous thing for any democracy.


  • 2000年の中国のWTO加盟はもっと遅らせるべきだった
    • それによって米国の労働者と産業界に中国のもたらす打撃に対して準備する余裕が与えられたはず。
  • 議会が検討している国境調整税を支持する
    • それによって輸入業者は損をするが輸出業者は得をする。
  • 米政府は製造業に重点を置くとともに、産業政策も用いるべき
    • 伝統的に経済学者は「製造業フェチ」を軽蔑してきたが、Autorは製造業は過小評価されてきていたと考えている。政府主導で設立されたコンソーシアムのセマテックを、1980年代から90年代に掛けて半導体産業を下支えることに成功した、と称賛。
    • 軍事研究関連の支出や奨励金をAIに向けるべき。彼の研究によれば、中国からの輸入によってこの分野における米国の生産者のイノベーション力が低下した。政策の手助けによってその流れを逆転させられる。


This kind of talk is certain to make many economists uncomfortable. Top economists have toyed with the idea of industrial policy over the years. But explicit support for the manufacturing sector goes against decades of ingrained teaching. And a general shift from free-trade cheerleading toward a sober, nuanced weighing of trade’s costs and benefits is going to be a frightening proposition for many.
But if this change in outlook does happen, even marginally, it will be a testament to the power of empirical economics. When facts and evidence can convince sober, fair-minded researchers like David Autor to change their own bedrock beliefs about national economic policy, it means there has been a sea change in how the profession thinks. The new empirical era may contain far less comfortable certitudes than the theory-driven economics of the past, and that’s frightening. But only by first admitting ignorance can social scientists eventually start crawling their torturous way toward the truth.
だが、こうした見方の変化が例え限界的にでも実際に起きたならば、それは実証経済学の力を示す証となる。事実と証拠によって、David Autorのような冷静で公正な研究者が国の経済政策についての自身の基本的な考えを変えるならば、経済学者の考え方の潮目に変化が生じたということである。実証の新時代は、理論が牽引した過去の経済学に比べ、安心して確信できることが遥かに少ないかもしれず、それは人を恐れさせる。しかし、まず無知を認めなくては、社会科学者は真実への辛い道程を最終的に歩み始めることはできないのである。

*1:cf. ここ