Containerized shipping

Unconventional Protectionism in Containerized Shipping

__Job Market Paper [Latest Version]__ Using novel container traffic data at the port level, I document the empty container redistribution and nationally balanced exchange of container units between the US and Rest of the World. Upon preparing a partial equilibrium model of round trip trade, I calibrate and estimate a multi-country baseline scenario of US containerized trade and consider the effect of government intervention in which empty container use is restricted in order to stimulate US export activity. I find that policy backfires, resulting in a reduction in allocated shipping capacity, import price inflation and an overall decline in trade activity on net exporter round trip routes. For routes which exhibit a greater reliance on empty container returns, I find that these backfiring effects are greater in magnitude.