Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

CIA Interventions, Tariff Changes, and Trade During the Cold War: A Variation and New Results


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An American Economic Review article by Daniel Berger, William Easterly, Nathan Nunn, and Shanker Satyanath (2013), “Commercial Imperialism? Political Influence and Trade During the Cold War,” finds a strong effect of the CIA interventions on imports of U.S. products. I test their results for robustness by using a different data set, and my estimates support most of the results reported by Berger and coauthors. However, my estimates indicate that the detected increase in imports from the U.S. also can be explained by changes in tariffs, which are not related to CIA interventions.