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Specialization: The Road to Comparative Disadvantage

Location: Click here to start the Zoom meeting

Time: Friday, February 12, 2021, 11 AM – 12 PM EDT

Presenters: Matthew B Kidder PhD

Dr. Matthew B Kidder conducted economic research while living in Beijing China from 2013 to 2016.  By the end of this presentation, you will have a new perspective on what Chinese Industrial competitiveness means and how the Chinese model defied classical economic policy prescriptions to specialize.  The Chinese economic development model stands in stark contrast to the Washington Consensus by leaving wide scope for industrial policy, which can easily be viewed in opposition to free trade prescriptions.  The question is open; what is the scope for industrial policy?  

The findings of Dr. Kidder’s research are clear; while there can be some gains to industrial specialization, there are also some disadvantages.  China’s rise as a manufacturing powerhouse should be understood for its merits or else the West might find itself struggling to extend its more virtuous institutions to the developing world, such as the rule-of-law.  Will the institutional landscape of the future look more Western or more Chinese?  History teaches us that Economic power facilitates the extension of domestic institutions abroad.  This work is a first step to understand one source of Chinese Comparative Advantage in economic trade – a source that stands in contrast to the Washington Consensus of the 1990’s and into the 21’st Century.