John Locke Institute 2023 Global Essay Prize

We recently received the news that one of our prefects, Elisa See, has been shortlisted for the prestigious John Locke Institute 2023 Global Essay Prize in the Economics category.   Elisa has been invited to attend the event at Oxford University, where the prize winners will be announced.  


Elisa’s essay was written to the prompt “In his thought experiment, the Iowa Car Crop, David Friedman tries to show that growing wheat is, in an important sense, just another ‘technology’ we can use for manufacturing cars, and in some circumstances a much more efficient one.  If international trade is thus a way of using less valuable inputs to produce more valuable outputs, why would governments impose trade barriers such as tariffs and quotas, thereby forcing producers to be more wasteful and less efficient?”


She summarises her response as:

My essay questioned the efficacy of free trade and whether comparative advantage could truly be applicable in the realist world we live in where nations cannot be coaxed by a supranational or international system of global governance to fully cooperate in free trade, especially considering each government will, and has a duty to, prioritise their own citizens and interests over the abstract notions of unbridled economic prosperity globally and efficiency.  I surmised that even if tariffs and inhibitors to free trade will theoretically result in deadweight loss, governments are not economic purists and will prioritise national interest and not the global economic good when making economic decisions.


We wish Elisa luck at the prize ceremony.

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