Why International Trade and Investment Are Good for the US Economy: A Story in Eight Charts

March 20, 2015

Cross-border trade and investment are an important source of economic growth. Consumers enjoy greater access to cheaper, higher-quality, and more varied goods. Increased trade creates higher-paying jobs and leads the most productive firms and industries to innovate and raise standards of living worldwide. This doesn’t mean every single person will be better off, but on balance, the benefits from international trade and investment outweigh the costs.

The benefits to the US economy are narrated and visualized through eight charts, focusing on the significant expansion of trade and investment in past decades, the benefits to workers in export-intensive industries, the changing nature of trade in a globalized economy and the positive role of multinationals, how trade relates to overall unemployment, and trends in US manufacturing.

This video is part of an effort by the Peterson Institute for International Economics to invigorate its dissemination of reliable economic data and analysis to the broad public on important issues of general interest.

Narration and Charts: Cathleen Cimino Animation and Sound: Daniel Housch and Jeremey Tripp

Video transcript

References and Data Sources

Edwards, Lawrence, and Robert Z. Lawrence. 2013. Rising Tide: Is Growth in Emerging Economies Good for the United States? Washington: Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Hufbauer, Gary Clyde, Theodore H. Moran, and Lindsay Oldenski. 2013. Outward Foreign Direct Investment and US Exports, Jobs, and R&D: Implications for US Policy. Policy Analyses 101. Washington: Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Lipsey, Robert E. 1993. Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: Changes Over Three Decades. In Foreign Direct investment, ed. Kenneth A. Froot. University of Chicago Press.

Moran, Theodore H., and Lindsay Oldenski. 2014. The US Manufacturing Base: Four Signs of Strength. Policy Brief 14-18. Washington: Peterson Institute for International Economics.

2012 Economic Census Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis OECD-WTO Trade in Value Added (TiVA) database US Bureau of Economic Analysis US Bureau of Labor Statistics US Census Bureau US International Trade Commission World KLEMS Database World Bank's World Development Indicators

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