Saving jobs?

mercredi 2 décembre 2009 ·

I always reprimand protectionism and I find it somewhat tirying to always make the same basic case to protectionnist, so sometimes I just abandon the fight. However, I love when numbers pop out of nowhere to defend protectionism. A colleague of mine at the university believed he had to defend protectionnism for the sugar industry and said that in the United States, it was saving the jobs of thousands of Americans. He said something close to 2,000 individuals for the particular sugar industry. When I returned to the appartment, I decided to google that number and I found a piece in the Washington Times where the author quotes a research from the Institute for International Economics.

Basically, he was right, there are indeed two thousands jobs saved in the sugar industry. According to the study quoted, 2,261 jobs were saved in the 1990s thanks to quotas and tarriffs. However, since sugar is a pretty common input for several foodstuffs, the average household paid $21 more per year for sugar. Multiply that amount by the number of households in the United States and then divide it by the 2,261 jobs saved and you end up with a cost of $826 000 per job saved.

Now I hate to be a ballbuster (not really but lets pretend), if I wanted to create 2,261 jobs I could find considerably less costly ways of doing so, if those jobs were worth saving that is (a hard question to ask, and answer).

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Bryan Breguet est candidat au doctorat en sciences économiques à l’université de Colombie-Britannique. D’origine Suisse, il a passé les cinq dernières années au Québec au cours desquelles il s’est engagé en politique provinciale malgré le fait qu’il ne possédait pas encore la citoyenneté canadienne. Il détient un B.Sc en économie et politique ainsi qu’une maitrise en sciences économiques de l’université de Montréal. Récipiendaire de plusieurs prix d’excellences et bourses, il connaît bien les méthodes quantitatives et leurs applications à la politique.

Vincent Geloso holds a master’s degree in economic history from the London School of Economics, with a focus on business cycles, international development, labor markets in preindustrial Europe and the new institutional economics. His research work examined the economic history of the province of Quebec from 1920 to 1960. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from the Université de Montréal. He has also studied in the United States at the Washington Centre for Academic Seminars and Internships. Mr. Geloso has been an intern for the Prime Minister’s cabinet in Ottawa and for the National Post. He has also been the recipient of a fellowship from the Institute for Humane Studies and an international mobility bursary from the Ministère des Relations internationales du Québec. Currently, he is an economist at the Montreal Economic Institute.

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