Global economy

[field_auth], 22 July 2016

Econophysics is an emerging field applying theories and methods from physics to economic problems and data. This column explores the collective motions of trade and the effects of trade liberalisation, using global data from the past two decades. Econophysics methods reveal how business cycles synchronise, and how economic risk propagates throughout the global economic network. The results also highlight inherent problems of structural controllability that are induced during economic crises.

[field_auth], 04 July 2016

The surprise outcome of the UK’s EU membership referendum is in some ways analogous to the ‘Taper Tantrum’ (the correction in financial markets following Ben Bernanke’s May 2013 suggestion that the US central bank was contemplating reducing its rate of security purchases). This column looks at whether the Brexit Surprise has had analogous effects on emerging markets. Emerging economies felt a strong negative impact that was larger and more widespread than in the case of the Taper Tantrum. Where the Taper Tantrum was mainly a financial shock, the Brexit Surprise is evidently perceived as having real as well as financial consequences.

[field_auth], 04 July 2016

Even in export-oriented industries, only a handful of firms ship their goods abroad. These firms are systematically different from their purely domestic counterparts. This column sheds light on the domestic supply chain of exporters to uncover firms whose production is exported indirectly. Accounting for indirect exporters brings the empirics of international trade closer to the modern structure of production, characterised by many stages in possibly many locations. These findings suggest that the distributional effects of globalisation go beyond the exporters versus non-exporters dichotomy.

[field_auth], 03 July 2016

Debate surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is raging. Economists on different sides of the debate have used different arguments and tools to support their positions. This column surveys several recent studies and the strategies they employ in modelling the potential effects of TPP. It argues that structural models need to start from micro foundations, and need to incorporate trade and macro dynamics. The general results of these studies lend support to those who think that TPP will be beneficial.

[field_auth], 01 July 2016

The effects of of globalisation on income distributions in rich countries have been studied extensively. This column takes a different approach by looking at developments in global incomes from 1988 to 2008. Large real income gains have been made by people around the median of the global income distribution and by those in the global top 1%.  However, there has been an absence of real income growth for people around the 80-85th percentiles of the global distribution, a group consisting of people in ‘old rich’ OECD countries who are in the lower halves of their countries’ income distributions.

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