David Autor’s groundbreaking work on the neglected costs of trade is revealing.

Along with economists David Dorn and Gordon Hanson, Autor has published some groundbreaking work over the past few years on how China’s evolution into a manufacturing colossus has created seismic shocks in towns scattered across the American heartland. What they’ve learned is that competition from China, which accelerated dramatically after it plugged into the global economy by joining the World Trade Organization in 2001, has had unexpectedly long-lasting effects on US labor markets.

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