Publication Date



[Excerpt] In the fall of 2000, legislation was enacted by the U.S. Congress to establish a bipartisan commission to investigate, assess, and report to Congress on the economic and security implications of the bilateral economic relationship between the U.S. and China. Unfortunately, to date no government body in the U.S. has had the responsibility for collecting comprehensive national data on the wage and employment effects of trade agreements and policies. Because of this deficit of information, the U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission contracted with a team of researchers from Cornell University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst to conduct a pilot study to lay the groundwork for more comprehensive research to monitor and analyze the impact of U.S.-China trade relations on workers, wages, and employment in the U.S. The purpose of the pilot study was twofold. The first component involved designing and implementing a media-tracking system to monitor and analyze media coverage of the employment and wage effects of China trade and investment by tracking all media reported production shifts out of the U.S. to China, Mexico, and other Asian and Latin American countries and out of Asian and Latin American countries into China that occurred between October 1, 2000 and April 30, 2001. Because of the lack of government data in this area, the media-tracking study is the first and only national database on production shifts out of the U.S. The second component of the study involved collecting and analyzing macro data on imports, exports, and foreign direct investment in those industries and economic sectors that have an active trade, investment, and production relationship with China. In combination, findings from the media-tracking and macroeconomic data provide further evidence that U.S.-China trade and investment policies have had, and will continue to have, a significant impact on employment and wages for workers in the U.S. and other countries actively involved in trade and/or investment with China. The study also lays the groundwork for future research on the economic impact of U.S-China trade relationships and demonstrates the importance of government-mandated corporate reporting requirements for all companies shifting goods, investments, or production in and out of the U.S.


Suggested Citation

Bronfenbrenner, K., Burke, J., Luce, S., Hickey, R., Juravich, T. Braunstein, E., & Epstein, J. (2001). Impact of U.S.-China trade relations on workers, wages, and employment: Pilot study report [Electronic version]. Washington, DC: U.S.-China Security Review Commission/U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission.