Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Of Its Own Accord: Adam Smith on the Export-Import Bank


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This article assembles quotations by Adam Smith regarding bounties—subsidies paid to producers for their productions, usually for export. The quotations presented here suggest, perhaps, what Adam Smith would say today about the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The export subsidies that Smith treated were bounties paid directly to exporters, whereas those of the Export-Import Bank principally take the form of subsidized credit. But the form does not much affect most of Smith’s analysis of export subsidization.