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Press Release

The Winners and Losers from Trade

Trade can affect households differently depending on their position in the labor market and the pattern of their consumption expenditures. In a recent Economic Commentary, Cleveland Fed researchers Daniel Carroll and Sewon Hur examine how the consequences of international trade are distributed across households through two primary channels, adjustments in the labor market and reductions in prices of goods and services.

“We find that the effects of trade on the labor market and the effects of trade on prices go in opposite directions and are of similar magnitude,” say Carroll and Hur. “Lower-income households, though possibly more exposed to the labor market costs, benefit more than do higher-income households from the reduction in prices that trade induces.”

According to the researchers, the price effects from trade are not shared equally across households, because households of different incomes purchase different bundles of goods and services. By documenting that the share of consumption expenditures that are tradable is higher for households with low income and wealth, Carroll and Hur find that these households benefit more from lower prices.

Read more: The Winners and Losers from Trade

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Doug Campbell,, 513.218.1892