- U -

UCC Universal Copyright Convention
Ullyses effect The role played by a trade agreement such as the GATT/WTO or a PTA in constraining participating governments from acceding to demands of domestic interests, just as Ullyses had his crew lash his hands to the mast of his ship to help him resist temptation. Mentioned by Anderson (2001).
UN United Nations
Unbundling See 2nd unbundling.
Uncertainty Failure to know anything relevant for an economic decision, such as future variables, details of a technology, or sales. In models, uncertainty usually appears as a random variable and associated probability density.
UNCITRAL United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
Uncovered interest arbitrage The act of borrowing one currency and lending another without using the forward market to protect against change in the exchange rate. Because of the risk of exchange-rate change, this can result in a loss and is therefore not truly a form of arbitrage. Sometimes called the carry trade.
Uncovered interest parity Equality of expected returns on otherwise comparable financial assets denominated in two currencies, without cover against exchange risk. Uncovered interest parity requires approximately that i = i* + a, where i and i* are the domestic and foreign interest rates and a the expected annualized percentage appreciation of foreign currency.
UNCTAD United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
UNCTAD Meetings The intergovernmental meetings from which UNCTAD gets its name, which occur every four years and began in 1964.
Under-invoicing The provision of an invoice that states price as less than is actually being paid. This might be done on an import in order to reduce the amount that will be collected by an ad valorem tariff. Or it might be done on an export to reduce apparent profit and thus taxes.
Underdeveloped country A synonym, not usually used today, for less developed country.
Underemployment The employment of workers for fewer hours or in less desirable jobs than they would prefer and are qualified for.
Undertaking See price undertaking or single undertaking.
Undervalued currency A currency whose value on the exchange market is lower than is believed to be sustainable. This may be due to a pegged or managed rate that is below the market-clearing rate, or, under a floating rate, it may be due to speculative capital outflows. Contrasts with over-valued currency.
Undistorted The absence of any distortion.
UNDP United Nations Development Program
UNECA United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
UNECE United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
Unemployed Willing and able to work, looking for work, and without a job.
Unemployment 1. The condition of being unemployed. Types of unemployment include frictional unemployment, structural unemployment, and cyclical unemployment.
2. A measure of the number of workers who are unemployed. Contrasts with employment.
Unemployment rate The ratio of unemployment to the labor force of a country.
Unequal exchange Derogatory term for trade in which the labor used to produce a country's exports is more than the labor used to produce its imports, as in the exchange between low-wage developing countries and high-wage developed countries.
Unfair trade 1. Under the GATT this refers only to exports that are subsidized or dumped
2. Under U.S. law, this also includes various actions that interfere with U.S. exports. See Section 301 and Super 301.
3. Also used to refer to almost any trade that the speaker objects to, sometimes including that based on low wages or weak regulations. See fair price.
Unfavorable balance of trade An excess of imports over exports, so that the balance of trade is negative. This view, that a negative trade balance is bad for the country, harks back to mercantilist views, and ignores that the country is currently benefiting from consuming more than it produces.
Unilateral aid Aid given by one country to another, as opposed to multilateral aid in which countries contribute to an international organization that in turn gives aid to deserving countries.
Unilateral transfer Transfer payment.
Unilateralism The use of trade policy by a country ignoring or contrary to international agreements. The US has sometimes been accused of unilateralism in its uses of Section 301, Special 301, Title VII, etc. Contrasts with multilateralism.
Unit elastic Elasticity equal to one. For price elasticity of demand, it means expenditure remains constant as price changes. For income elasticity it means expenditure share is constant. Homothetic preferences imply unit income elasticities. Contrasts with elastic and inelastic.
Unit isocost line An isocost line along which cost is equal to one unit of the numeraire, such as one dollar.
Unit isoquant The isoquant for a quantity equal to one unit of a good. The unit isoquant is useful for relating the price of a good to the prices of factors employed in its production.
Unit labor cost The cost of labor per unit of real output.
Unit labor requirement The amount of labor per unit of output; the ratio of labor to output; thus the reciprocal of labor productivity. In a H-O Model this varies along an isoquant. In a Ricardian model, they are constant, defining comparative advantage and determining behavior.
Unit of account A basic function of money, providing a unit of measurement for defining, recording, and comparing value. That is, one dollar signifies not only a one-dollar bill, but also a dollar's worth of money in other forms (deposits), of wealth in other forms than money, and of any good or service with a market value.
Unit root A property of a linear stochastic process that, if present, means that the process is non-stationary, meaning that the distribution of the values that it may take on will change over time.
Unit simplex A set in Euclidean space of values that sum to one: S={x∈ℜnixi=1}. Sometimes used as the numeraire in real models that seek to avoid selecting a single good for that purpose.
Unit tariff Specific tariff.
Unit-value isoquant The isoquant for a quantity of a good worth one unit of value. This is meaningful only if the nominal price of the good is given, for some specified currency or numeraire. Unit-value isoquants are central to the Lerner diagram for analyzing the H-O Model.
United Nations An organization of countries established in 1945 with 51 members, it had expanded to 193 countries as of March 2016. Its purpose is "to preserve peace through international cooperation and collective security."
United Nations Commission on International Trade Law A legal body created in 1966 to formulate and harmonize national rules on international commercial transactions. It includes (as of March 2016) 60 member states selected from the UN General Assembly to be representative of various geographic regions and economic and legal systems. It differs from the WTO in its more technical focus and its broad representation.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development An intergovernmental body established in 1964 within the United Nations, responsible for trade and development. Historically it has often been the international voice of developing countries.
United Nations Development Programme The "development network" of the United Nations, operating in nearly 170 countries (as of March 2016) "advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life."
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa A United Nations regional commission to "promote the economic and social development..., foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa's development."
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe One of five regional economic and social commissions set up by the United Nations, UNECE (or just ECE) has as its major aim to "promote pan-European economic integration."
United Nations Organizations The complex and extensive system of organizations that exist under the umbrella of the United Nations. Several of these, like the WTO and the IMF, play critical roles in the international economy.
United Nations Statistics Division The United Nations agency that collects and maintains various statistical databases, including extensive data on international trade.
United States Agency for International Development An independent federal government agency guided by the US Department of State, USAID is the principal (but not the only) portion of the US government that dispenses aid to developing countries.
United States Court of International Trade The U.S. court in which matters involving international trade are adjudicated. These include determinations of the customs service and findings of the USITC.
United States Customary System The system of weights and measures used by the United States, derived from the but not identical to the British Imperial System and very different from the metric system and its SI extension used by most of the world. Examples include: yard versus meter; ounce versus gram; and acre versus hectare.
United States Customs and Border Protection The agency of the U.S. government, created Mar. 1, 2003, incorporating the US Customs Service as well as the US Border Patrol.
United States Customs Service The agency of the U.S. government that monitors the border to prevent illegal goods from crossing it and to collect tariffs -- customs duties -- on legal goods that are subject to them. Now a part of United States Customs and Border Protection.
United States International Trade Commission An independent, quasi-judicial U.S. federal agency that informs the legislative and executive branches of government and directs actions against unfair trade practices. In trade policy, its commissioners assess injury in cases filed under the escape clause, anti-dumping, and countervailing duty statutes.
United States Trade Representative The cabinet-level official of the U.S. government "responsible for developing and coordinating U.S. international trade, commodity, and direct investment policy, and leading or directing negotiations with other countries on such matters."
Unity One. For example, "an elasticity greater than unity" means an elasticity (defined so as to be a positive number) greater than 1.00.
Universal Copyright Convention One of two international copyright conventions (the other is the Berne Convention), the UCC standardizes how an author may claim copyright so as to be recognized under national laws.
Unnatural trading bloc A trading bloc among countries that are not natural trading partners.
Unregistered exports and imports See registered exports and imports.
Unrequited transfer Same as transfer payment. "Unrequited" means "not in return for anything," but that is implicit in "transfer," at least in the context of international payments.
UNSD United Nations Statistics Division
Unskilled labor Labor with a low level of skill or human capital. Identified empirically as labor earning a low wage, with a low level of education, or in an occupational category associated with these; sometimes crudely proxied as production workers.
Unstable Not stable, by either of its definitions. Unstable equilibrium arises when there are multiple equilibria, as in the case of inelastic offer curves that intersect three times instead of once. The middle equilibrium is unstable.
UPF Utility possibility frontier
Upper Middle Income Country See Middle Income Country.
Upstream subsidization Export of a good one of whose inputs has been subsidized.
Uridashi bond A bond sold to Japanese retail buyers but denominated in a foreign currency.
Uruguay Round The round of multilateral trade negotiations under the GATT that commenced in 1986 and was completed in 1994 with the creation of the WTO. In addition it broke new ground by negotiating over agriculture, textiles and apparel, services, and intellectual property.
US-Central American Free Trade Agreement A free trade agreement signed in 2004 between the United States, the Dominican Republic, and five countries of Central America. The last to ratify CAFTA-DR was Costa Rica on January 1, 2009.
US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue A meeting of the heads of state of the United States and China that was initiated by Presidents Obama and Hu in April 2009 and has occurred annually, alternating between China and the US.
U.S. News and World Report A weekly begun in 1933 as a newspaper, United States News, it became a magazine in 1940 and U.S. News and World Report in 1948. In 1995 it launched its website, usnews.com, and ceased print publication in 2010. It is known both for its reporting of news and for its rankings, including of countries.
USAID United States Agency for International Development
User fee See customs user fee.
USITC United States International Trade Commission
USTR United States Trade Representative
Utility function A function that specifies the utility (well-being) of a consumer for all combinations of goods consumed (and sometimes with other considerations). Represents both their welfare and their preferences.
Utility possibility frontier In a diagram with levels of individual utility on the axes, a curve showing the maximum attainable levels of utility in a given situation, such as free trade or autarky. Used by Samuelson (1962) to demonstrate the gains from trade.