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Comments on Doug Irwin: Peddling Protectionism: Smoot-Hawley and the Great Depression.


Irwin, D.A.: Peddling Protectionism: Smoot-Hawley and the Great Depression.:

"An astute and well-told account of a law more often invoked than understood, Irwin's examination of the Smoot-Hawley Act explains how--for good or ill--Congress lost its credibility as a maker of trade law. A valuable book for anyone who wants to understand the Great Depression and whether it could come back."

--Eric Rauchway, author of Blessed Among Nations and The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction

"Douglas Irwin's elegant and sophisticated account of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff clears up some powerful and persistent myths. As Irwin shows, the tariff didn't begin with congressional logrolling (though that contributed substantially to the eventual outcome), it didn't cause the stock market panic of October 1929, and it didn't cause the Great Depression (but neither did it counteract deflation from abroad as some Keynesians and monetarists have claimed). And many of the book's details are fascinating and even bizarrely amusing."

--Harold James, Princeton University

"Economists and economic historians have closely examined the Smoot-Hawley Tariff over the past few decades, but no one before Douglas Irwin has pulled together such a wide-ranging body of evidence to give us a solid and detailed understanding of the passage and impact of the bill. Understanding the Great Depression has become even more important since the global financial crisis, and that makes this book very timely. Brief, accessible, and clear, Peddling Protectionism should appeal to a wide range of readers."

--Robert Whaples, Wake Forest University

"It would not surprise me if this became the definitive economic history of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff. Synthesizing and fleshing out the best research and nicely connecting economics and politics, Peddling Protectionism provides a fuller accounting of, and a deeper perspective on, what is arguably the best-known U.S. tariff of the twentieth century."

--Kris Mitchener, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University

Damned if I can think of who the "Keynesians and monetarists" are who claimed that Smoot-Hawley was stimulative by "counteract[ing] deflation from abroad." I was always taught by Keynesians and monetarists that Smoot-Hawley and retaliative moves by other countries together administered a contractionary supply shock to the world economy--although not one big enough to make the Great Depression great...