Cevat Giray Aksoy, Antonio Cabrales, Mathias Dolls, Ruben Durante, Lisa Windsteiger, 13 June 2021

The evolution of altruism is an intensely studied phenomena in both the natural and social sciences. This column presents novel evidence from a large-scale survey conducted in August 2020 across nine European countries measuring how trust, reciprocity, and altruism are affected by economic interests, shared values, and a major health crisis. It finds that while altruism is enhanced by shared identities or crises, interpersonal trust is not. Common economic interests have little impact on altruism or reciprocity, suggesting that economic concerns alone cannot build social cohesion.

Jayant Menon, 09 June 2014

With the rise of mega-regional trade agreements, the world trade system resembles a jigsaw puzzle. This column discusses the difficulties involved in consolidating free trade agreements at the regional level, and argues that piecing together the blocs around the world will be even more challenging. A potential way forward is to return to the most widely used modality of trade liberalisation – unilateral actions – but this time involving the multilateralisation of preferences rather than unreciprocated reductions in tariff rates.

Rolf Langhammer, 05 July 2008

Multilateral trade talks are stagnating while bilateral agreements being signed daily. This column considers why reciprocity seems to have lost its appeal.

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