Globalisation offers many benefits, some of which cannot be separated from other types of policy. This column examines how the benefits from removing regulations that impede competition are partly contingent on openness to import competition. Using recent firm-level analyses of productivity growth, it argues that those firms that contribute the most to overall growth could also be held back by reduced openness, harming overall advances in incomes.
Sean Dougherty, Sarra Ben Yahmed, 20 January 2017
Jacques Bughin, Susan Lund, 09 January 2017
In around 25 years, the internet has become an integral part of our daily lives, connecting billions of users and businesses worldwide and leading to an explosion in the volume of cross-border digital flows. This column attempts to measure these flows and their impact on global activity in general. Global flows of goods, services, finance, people, and data have raised world GDP by at least 10% in the past decade, with the contribution to growth of GDP from data flows nearly matching the value of global trade in physical goods and services.
Ian Tomb, Kamakshya Trivedi, 06 January 2017
It has become consensus to argue that we have approached ‘peak trade’ or the ‘end of globalisation’: that the past five years of stagnant global trade growth are not temporary, but instead reflect persistent forces that are likely to drive a continued stagnation in global trade over the long run. Though this view preceded the Brexit referendum, this column argues that it has now been amplified by the UK’s vote to leave the EU and the prospect that, potentially, US President-elect Trump and other leaders across developed markets will implement protectionist trade policies. The authors consider the arguments for ‘peak trade’, and conclude that, though downside risks to the trade outlook are prominent, there is little evidence – yet – that the current stagnation in global trade is predestined to extend far into the future.
Danny Leipziger, 08 December 2016
Despite lifting millions out of poverty, globalisation is facing growing political opposition. This column surveys the successes and failures of globalisation, and some of the critical policy implications. Globalisation has reached a stage where its benefits have been captured but its costs have been largely ignored. Going forward, governments need to address inequality and social inclusion, boost global investment, and restore confidence.
Klaus Desmet, Dávid Krisztián Nagy, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 30 November 2016
Recent political events have highlighted a growing anti-globalisation sentiment, evident in scepticism towards free trade and resistance to immigration. However, existing analyses focus on short-term, local effects. Using global data, this column takes account of the complex relations between trade, migration, innovation, and growth. Liberal trade and immigration stances are found to have positive effects on global output. The results suggest that globalisation remains a tremendously powerful engine of growth.
Italo Colantone, Piero Stanig, 23 November 2016
The vote for Brexit was a watershed moment in European politics. This column investigates the causal drivers of differences in support for the Leave campaign across UK regions. Globalisation in the form of the ‘Chinese import shock’ is found to be a key driver of regional support for Brexit. The results suggest that policies are needed that help to redistribute the benefits of globalisation across society.
Alexander Al-Haschimi, Martin Gächter, David Lodge, Walter Steingress, 14 October 2016
Exceptionally weak global trade growth over recent years has presented a puzzle to academics and policymakers alike. This column presents a study by an expert network across European central banks which suggests that it may actually be the past strength of trade which was exceptional, rather than the subsequent slowdown. The recent deceleration of trade growth can thus be seen as a ‘great normalisation’. The important implication is that an upturn in aggregate demand will not necessarily lead to a significant recovery in global trade.
Christian Dippel, Robert Gold, Stephan Heblich, 07 October 2016
The increasing polarisation of politics in the US in particular has spurred scholarly research on the potential links to increasing globalisation. This column focuses instead on Germany to investigate whether the rise of right-wing populism is associated with increased international trade. Regions most threatened by exposure to imports saw increases in support for far-right parties, while regions that benefited from export opportunities saw decreases. To counter this globalisation backlash, policy should aim to cushion the effects of trade exposure on the losers from globalisation.
Robert Gold, 26 September 2016
Does rising globalisation lead to fringe politicians coming to power? Robert Gold discusses the effect of two historical events that changed globalisation on German national elections. This video was recorded during the European Economic Association's Congress held in Geneva at the end of August 2016.
Dalia Marin , Linda Fache Rousová, Thierry Verdier, 21 September 2016
We know little detail about how much multinational firms transplant their organisational culture to affiliates. Data from Austrian and German multinational firms shows that, contrary to what we might expect, almost 70% of foreign investments do not adopt the parent firm's mode of organisation. This column argues that the size of the home and host markets, and the level of competition in each market, all influence the decision to transplant culture. Globalisation also creates 'reverse transplanting', in which the parent firm's organisation becomes more like the optimal organisation of the subsidiary.
Miguel Niño-Zarazúa, Laurence Roope, Finn Tarp, 20 September 2016
Since the turn of the century, income inequality has risen to be among the most prominent policy issues of our time. This column looks at inequality trends in recent decades. While relative global inequality has fallen, insufficient economic convergence, together with substantial growth in per capita incomes, has resulted in increased absolute inequality since the mid-1970s. The inclusivity aspect of growth is now more imperative than ever.
Michel Fouquin, Jules Hugot, 17 September 2016
Historians and economists generally identify two periods of trade globalisation, the first beginning around 1870 and the second during the 1970s. The column argues that new data from 1827 onwards shows globalisation beginning as trade barriers were lowered around 1840, and that both periods of globalisation were surprisingly fuelled by a regionalisation of world trade. If globalisation continues to grow in future, regionalisation may decline.
Douglas Campbell, Lester Lusher, 08 September 2016
Growing inequality has been one of the most pressing political issues since the Great Recession. However, there is a relative lack of consensus on the significant drivers of this trend. This column investigates the contribution of globalisation, via international trade, to US inequality. Although trade is found to have had important effects on certain parts of the US labour market in the early 2000s, the growth in US inequality since 1980 can be traced back to Reagan-era tax cuts.
Mario Crucini, Gregor Smith, 05 September 2016
Commodity price convergence is often seen as the best way to measure the integration of markets that defines globalisation. This column reviews research on historical prices and also presents intranational evidence from Sweden from 1732 to 1914. Price convergence appears to date to the 18th century, well before the adoption of the telegraph or the railway. For emerging economies today, intranational price convergence arising from declining internal distance effects may be a precursor to globalisation.
Avinash Persaud, 26 August 2016
The vote for Brexit was seen by some as a vote of ignorance, laced with xenophobia. This column argues that it was not an irrational vote of the ignorant, but a highly rational vote by the same losers from trade as elsewhere across the world. To compensate them, efforts should be made to upskill displaced workers and build them affordable homes to rent in places where the new jobs are. Ignoring this rise of trade nationalism would be far more dangerous than leaving the EU.
Melissa Dell, Pablo Querubin, 16 August 2016
The nature of US military interventions has become relevant in the face of new growing threats, particularly from so-called Islamic State. While top-down strategies that rely on overwhelming firepower are sometimes favoured by politicians, longer-term strategies use a bottom-up approach, gaining citizens’ support through civic engagement. This column introduces evidence from US actions during the Vietnam War to show that bottom-up approaches are more successful in countering insurgencies than violent, top-down interventions.
Kevin O'Rourke, 07 August 2016
After the Brexit vote, it is obvious to many that globalisation in general, and European integration in particular, can leave people behind – and that ignoring this for long enough can have severe political consequences. This column argues that this fact has long been obvious. As the historical record demonstrates plainly and repeatedly, too much market and too little state invites a backlash. Markets and states are political complements, not substitutes
Diane Coyle, 05 August 2016
How much was Brexit a result of the UK’s industrialised regions losing out from globalisation? Bob Denham (Econ Films) talks to Diane Coyle (University of Manchester) to discuss the decimation of communities in the late 80s and early 90s, as well as the failure of policy-makers to fix this ever since.
Diane Coyle, 05 August 2016
The UK's "Leave" vote could be seen as a vote against globalisation and its uneven impact on different parts of the country, rather than a vote specifically against the EU. The proportions voting for Leave were higher in the Midlands and North of England, where deindustrialisation struck hardest and where average incomes have stagnated. London, the UK's only truly global city, saw growth and a high share of Remain voters. This column argues that the new Conservative administration, swept in by the Brexit vote, should reinforce the very recent policy emphasis on economic growth outside global London and its hinterland.
Wolfgang Keller, Hâle Utar, 05 July 2016
Recent shifts in political sentiment regarding EU membership have been caused in part by a growing hostility towards globalisation. This column uses Danish evidence to analyse whether globalisation causes a polarisation of jobs in developed countries, and in particular whether it causes a loss of middle-income jobs. Rising import competition can increase income inequality, but it also accounts for a substantial part of all high-wage employment gains. The task for policymakers is to make these gains felt by the majority of citizens.