Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bhagwati on Card Check

Jagdish is, surprisingly, in favor of the so-called Employee Free Choice Act.

As I understand it, his argument is from the standpoint of the second best. Jagdish does not really like the bill itself ("And it is, indeed, hard to defend the denial of an automatic secret ballot"). But he thinks that strengthening unions will raise the wages of some workers and thereby diminish the populist push for trade restrictions, which he views as the more pernicious threat.

An alternative view is that unions are among the most anti-trade institutions out there, so strengthening them will advance the push for trade restrictions.