International trade

Cristina Constantinescu, Aaditya Mattoo, Michele Ruta, 25 May 2016

Trade has been growing more slowly since the Great Recession not only because global GDP growth is lower, but also because trade itself has become less responsive to GDP. The causes of the changing trade-income relationship have been studied, but its consequences have not. This column presents a simple framework to assess some of the demand-side and supply-side implications. The change hurts growth, although the quantifiable effects are not large.  

Emanuel Ornelas, 14 May 2016

For over half a century, one pillar of the world trading system has been the principle of ‘special and differential treatment’ (SDT) for developing countries. This column explores how SDT has impacted trade policy around the world. Although this strategy aims to help developing countries, in design and practice it seems to be biased against them. While there is no support for SDT as a growth-promoting strategy, there is a clear need for further research that explicitly tackles the empirical challenges that it presents. 

Cletus C. Coughlin, Dennis Novy, 08 May 2016

Borders impede trade, and a major objective of research in international trade has been to identify by how much. This column argues that bilateral trade data can give a misleading picture. Larger countries have inherently smaller border effects because their data aggregate over more space and economic activity. Trade economists need to think harder about how slicing up the map at the level of countries drives estimates of important policy variables.

Cecília Hornok, Miklós Koren, 07 May 2016

Most economists view trade as benefiting countries overall but leading to winners and losers within nations. This column summarises a recent survey about winners and losers from globalisation prepared in the context of the FP7 COEURE project. It stresses that the policy debate should focus on identifying and compensating the losers from globalisation rather than on considering protectionist measures that are detrimental to growth.

Randolph Bruno, Nauro F. Campos, Saul Estrin, Meng Tian, 05 May 2016

The current Brexit debate has highlighted questions about the benefits and costs of EU membership. This column considers the effect of membership on foreign direct investment (FDI). Using several measures, EU membership is found to increase FDI inflows by 14–38% between 1985 and 2013. These results support arguments for economic integration, and indicate that, like international trade, FDI is a key channel through which payoffs are delivered.

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