Proponents of the secretly negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership — which lets companies force governments to get rid of their labor, environmental and safety rules in confidential tribunals — say it's all worth it because it will deliver growth and jobs to the stagnant economies of the rich world.
Independent analysis from the World Bank put paid to the idea that TPP states would experience any growth, but didn't address the question of jobs.
But a new working paper from Jerome Capaldo and Alex Izurieta, economists from Tufts University's Global Development and Environment Institute and Jomo Kwame Sundaram — formerly the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development takes a critical, independent look at the economic modeling performed by the TPP's proponents and finds it based on a set of nonsensical, nonstandard assumptions about how economies perform.
The researchers revisited the pro-TPP research using a "realistic" set of modeling assumptions, based on the widely accepted United Nations Global Policy Model (GPM). When they re-run the numbers on the TPP's impact on jobs, they come back with a stark finding: developed nations that sign TPP can expect to hemorrhage jobs by the tens of thousands — and poor countries will gain few, if any jobs from those losses.
TPP would generate net losses of GDP in the United States and Japan. For the United States, they project that GDP would be 0.54 percent lower than it would be without TPP, 10 years after the treaty enters into force. Japan's GDP is projected to decrease 0.12 percent.
Economic gains would be negligible for other participating countries – less than one percent over ten years for developed countries and less than three percent for developing ones. These projections are similar to previous findings that TPP gains would be small for many countries.
TPP would lead to employment losses in all countries, with a total of 771,000 lost jobs. The United States would be the hardest hit, with a loss of 448,000 jobs. Developing economies participating in the agreement would also suffer employment losses, as higher competitive pressures force them to curtail labor incomes and increase production for export.
TPP would lead to higher inequality, as measured by changes in the labor share of national income. The authors foresee competitive pressures on labor income combining with employment losses to push labor shares lower, redistributing income from labor to capital in all countries. In the United States, this would exacerbate a multi-decade downward trend.
TPP would lead to losses in GDP and employment in non-TPP countries. In large part, the loss in GDP (3.77 percent) and employment (879,000) among non-TPP developed countries would be driven by losses in Europe, while developing country losses in GDP (5.24%) and employment (4.45 million) reflect projected losses in China and India.
Unemployment, Inequality and Other Risks
of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement [Jeronim Capaldo, Alex Izurieta, Jomo Kwame Sundaram/GDAE Working Paper]