Sometime tomorrow, or perhaps today depending on when I get this post completed, President Trump will announce tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Rather than engage in a knee jerk response that free trade is always the best approach I think it would pay to be a little more circumspect about the outcomes. First, is free trade beneficial to all parties? Well yes and no.
I resisted writing anything specific about Brexit and North Dakota for a time now. Part of the issue was it was all too soon; natural experiments of this scale are not something economists expect to just fall in their lap. There were many questions about the implications of the event for North Dakota, which as we will see is probably minimal in terms of direct relevance. With the benefit of a little temporal distance we can address this in a manner devoid of (some of) the immediate hysteria.