Debunking Protectionist Myths: Free Trade, the Developing World, and Prosperity

Although free trade has gained increasing acceptance among policymakers over time, challenges to it have remained omnipresent. The latest of these challenges has manifested itself in increased tariffs on steel and aluminum in the United States and on a number of selected products in India. In a new bulletin, economics professor Arvind Panagariya explores the harmful long-term consequences of the United States’ recent turn to protectionism, and argues that history forcefully demonstrates the power of openness to trade, particularly in the developing world.

The Community Reinvestment Act in the Age of Fintech and Bank Competition

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requires banks to lend to low- and moderate-income (LMI) households in the areas where they take deposits. However, the competitive environment is much changed from when the CRA came into force in 1977, and mounting evidence suggests the CRA is either ineffective or damaging. A new study from Cato scholar Diego Zuluaga argues that there is a strong case for repealing the CRA in favor of alternative policies that better achieve its goals.

Closing Pandora’s Box: The Growing Abuse of the National Security Rationale for Restricting Trade

Over its first two years, the Trump administration has aggressively reshaped U.S. trade policy. One of its most controversial initiatives is the expansive use of national security to justify imposing tariffs and quotas. Internationally, many U.S. trading partners responded immediately to the tariffs with tariffs of their own, and both the U.S. tariffs and the retaliatory tariffs are the subject of litigation that will test the limits of the WTO’s dispute settlement process and the trading system itself. In a new paper, Cato scholars Simon Lester and Huan Zhu suggest an alternative mechanism to handle these issues.

Bad Economic Justifications for Minimum Wage Hikes

What is the economic case for increasing the federal minimum wage? To even posit that question sounds odd. Proponents of a higher minimum wage claim that the policy change could alleviate all sorts of economic and social ills. But it’s worth assessing, from first principles, the economic arguments advanced for how the minimum wage level should be set. In a new brief, Cato scholar Ryan Bourne argues that the metrics that $15 minimum wage advocates use to make the case for substantial minimum wage hikes are not, on their own, economically sensible benchmarks by which to set minimum wage rates.

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Recent Commentary

Marching to a Federal Debt Crisis

Canada escaped a similar debt spiral in the 1990s as a left-of-center government imposed and sustained sharp spending cuts. We can and should do that here, now, yet virtually all members of Congress appear uninterested in reform.  

Events

July 31

Socialism Sucks: Two Economists Drink Their Way through the Unfree World

Featuring the authors Robert Lawson, Director, O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University; Benjamin Powell, Professor of Economics at Rawls College of Business, Texas Tech University; and Matt Kibbe, President, Free the People; moderated by Ian Vásquez, Director, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, Cato Institute.

12:00PM to 1:30PM EDT
Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute

Of Special Note

The Inclusive Economy: How to Bring Wealth to America’s Poor

The Inclusive Economy: How to Bring Wealth to America's Poor

The Inclusive Economy: How to Bring Wealth to America’s Poor energetically challenges the conventional wisdom of both the right and the left that underlies much of the contemporary debate over poverty and welfare policy. Author and national public policy expert Michael Tanner takes to task conservative critiques of a “culture of poverty” for their failure to account for the structural circumstances in which the poor live. In addition, he criticizes liberal calls for fighting poverty primarily through greater redistribution of wealth and new government programs.

Special! 10 Copies for $10

Cato Pocket Constitution

To encourage people everywhere to better understand and appreciate the principles of government that are set forth in America’s founding documents, the Cato Institute published this pocket-size edition.

Now Available

Home Study Resources

The Cato Institute offers a wealth of online educational audio and video resources, from self-paced guides on the ideas of liberty and the principles of economics, to exclusive, archived lectures by thinkers such as Milton Friedman and F. A. Hayek. Browse through some highlights of our collections, for personal study or for use in the classroom.

Sphere Summit: Teaching Civic Culture Together

For more than four decades, the Cato Institute has introduced people, including millions of young people, to the ideas of freedom. Many Cato books are already taught in high school curricula across the country. To advance the ideas of liberal democracy and the rule of law, Cato has developed the Sphere Summit for educators. The opening Summit seminar, “Teaching Civic Culture Together,” will be held at the Cato Institute in Washington, DC, on July 14–18, 2019.