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Economists Discuss the Pros and Cons of Free Trade

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The benefits of free trade have been a cornerstone of economic thought for decades. Recently, though, trade agreements have become the target of a populist backlash, with opposition to trade deals emerging as a key issue in the presidential race. At the same time, new research suggests that trade led to lower wages and higher unemployment for some Americans, particularly middle-class manufacturing workers. We asked Bloomberg View columnists Tyler Cowen and Noah Smith to meet online to debate the pros and cons of trade.

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