Maurice Obstfeld, 15 October 2021

Even after their role in the global financial crisis, globalised, minimally regulated financial markets are still regarded as inevitable and, on balance, good for us. Maurice Obstfeld of Berkeley tells Tim Phillips about the short but action-packed history of financial globalisation and asks whether we should be rethinking this aspect of capitalism too.

Read more about the research presented and download the free discussion paper:

Obstfeld, M. 2021. 'The Global Capital Market Reconsidered'. CEPR

Mirco Balatti, Juan Carluccio, Francesco Chiacchio, Nuno Coimbra, Susana Parraga, Daniele Siena, Sebastian Stumpner, Fabrizio Venditti, Tina Žumer, 11 October 2021

Since the start of the pandemic, inflation has re-entered mainstream discussion. This column reviews the analysis of globalisation and inflation conducted in the context of the ECB strategy review. Although global factors (mainly commodity prices) matter for inflation synchronisation, their role in lowering both inflation and its sensitivity to the business cycle in advanced economies has been limited since the late 1980s. Global shocks can exert temporary pressure on price dynamics, but the destiny of inflation remains in the hands of central banks.

Rabah Arezki, Yang Liu, 30 September 2021

Covid-19 has further exposed the growing interdependence between advanced economies and emerging markets. Most of the existing research on cross-border spillovers has focused on the spillover effects from advanced economies to emerging markets. This column shows that spillovers from emerging markets to advanced economies over the past 25 years are about a fifth of those running in the opposite direction, and have increased significantly over time because of the evolving interdependence between these blocks. 

Nuno Limão, Yang Xu, 07 August 2021

Production is increasingly specialised, with firms concentrating workers on certain tasks that take advantage of outsourced intermediate inputs. This column uses a new framework where firms can adopt intermediate-intensive technologies to study the relationship between globalisation and specialisation, and its implications for the labour share and income. It finds that an expansion in market size such as that resulting from globalisation increases production specialisation, decreases labour cost shares, and increases profit concentration.

Pamina Koenig, Sebastian Krautheim, Claudius Löhnert, Thierry Verdier, 30 July 2021

With economic globalisation facing a legitimacy crisis fuelled by various scandals associated with globalised value chains, advocacy NGOs and their campaigns are in the limelight. Still, little systematic knowledge has been generated on how global sourcing and exporting decisions of firms interact with the upsurge of this international social activism. This column uses a unique dataset on NGO campaigns against firms to show how the internationalisation and geographical structure of NGO campaigns are closely intertwined with patterns of global production and trade. 

Lutz Kilian, Nikos Nomikos, Xiaoqing Zhou, 15 July 2021

An essential feature of the globalisation of the economy since the 1990s has been the growing importance of sea-borne container trade for supply chains. This column develops a monthly index of North American container trade since 1997 and incorporates it into a model of the US economy. It shows that rising and falling frictions in container shipping markets help explain the US business cycle and recovery from the Covid-19 recession. The model suggests that the recovery since the start of the pandemic has been slower than raw data suggest and finds evidence of favourable foreign demand and container market shocks. 

Alessandra Bonfiglioli, Federica De Pace, 25 June 2021

The rise in income inequality and, more prominently, in the wage gap between men and women has been one of the major concerns among policymakers and the public in recent years. This column presents new evidence from Germany on the impact of exports on the gender wage gap which shows that an increase in a plant’s exports significantly reduces the wage gap between male and female co-workers in white-collar occupations, but widens it for employees in blue-collar occupations. The findings suggest that designing policies that support women taking part in trade, especially in positions in which they would benefit from their comparative advantage, is crucial to maximise the potential benefits from globalisation.    

Ian Goldin, 20 June 2021

Despite the tragic deaths, suffering and sadness that it has caused, the pandemic could go down in history as the event that rescued humanity. This column argues that the pandemic has created a hinge moment of change, in which governments and citizens have demonstrated their ability to undertake reforms which would have been impossible before the pandemic. Sustaining and building on this momentum for reform is vital if we are to address the critical challenges facing humanity, stop future pandemics and build a more inclusive world of shared prosperity. 

Rebecca Freeman, John Lewis, 02 June 2021

Better communications, enhanced transport links, integration agreements between governments, and other factors have all helped increase global economic interconnectedness over the past few decades. This column compares a state-of-the-art gravity model for trade versus migration to reveal that there are in fact important differences in the evolution of globalisation over time on flows of goods versus people. For trade, the boost from free trade agreements declines the farther apart signatories are, but for migration the boost increases with distance between signatories. Further, while both border and distance frictions have declined for trade over time, this is not the case for migration flows.

Wolf-Fabian Hungerland, Nikolaus Wolf, 02 May 2021

The history of globalisation is usually told in two parts, separated not only by two world wars but also by changes in technology, institutions, and economic logic. This column reconsiders that narrative. Using detailed new evidence on Germany’s foreign trading practices from 1800 to 1913 (the ‘first’ globalisation), it finds that most growth took place along the extensive margin, while 25–30% of trade was intra-industry. If the first globalisation saw substantial heterogeneity within countries and industries, it may be time to re-think the ‘classical’ versus ‘new’ trade paradigm. 

Assaf Razin, 23 April 2021

Concerns associated with the Covid-19 pandemic have led to new rationales of protectionism, with renewed emphasis on domestic production and sourcing. This column compares the current economic crisis brought on by the pandemic to previous major economic crises and examines what this could mean for the future of various aspects of globalisation.

Jérôme Adda, Yarine Fawaz, 09 March 2021

Globalisation has affected workers and firms in developed countries over the last decades, leading to loss of employment and worker displacement. This column exploits data on over 40 million Americans to evaluate the many diverse health effects of such an economic shock. It shows that import competition has affected both health and health behaviour, increasing hospital admissions for conditions ranging from infectious diseases to cancer, as well as for mental health issues and substance abuse. However, these effects are only present in areas where jobs tend to involve a high level of routine tasks.

Adnan Seric, Holger Görg, Wan-Hsin Liu, Michael Windisch, 07 January 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of the global trade network underpinning global value chains. Initial disruptions in the supply chains for key medical goods due to surges in demand and newly erected trade barriers have prompted policymakers around the world to question their country’s reliance on foreign suppliers and international production networks. This column takes a closer look at China’s post-pandemic recovery and argues that its response may hold clues to the future of global value chains.

James Anderson, Yoto Yotov, 20 December 2020

The gravity equation of international trade raises several empirical puzzles relating to the decreasing impact of distance, the declining trade-related costs of bilateral trade, and the estimation of trade elasticities. This column introduces a new, ‘short-run gravity’ model which simultaneously resolves all three of the above-mentioned puzzles. The model estimates a 14% decline in the distance elasticity and shows that capacity reallocation raised world manufacturing trade by 75% between 1998 and 2006. Finally, an estimated structural parameter implies that the short-tun trade elasticity is about one-fourth of its long-run counterpart. 

Julian di Giovanni, Andrei Levchenko, Isabelle Mejean, 14 December 2020

Superstar firms have recently been linked to phenomena such as top income inequality, comparative advantage in trade, and the fall in the labour share. Another important feature of superstar firms is their international trade linkages. This column studies how susceptible an economy with few large firms which account for the majority of imports and exports is to international business cycle shocks.  It finds that at the micro level, such larger firms respond more strongly to foreign shocks than smaller firms. At the macro level, this heterogeneity dampens the domestic GDP response to a foreign shock. 

Anirudh Shingal, Prachi Agarwal, 08 December 2020

International health crises have the ability to send shockwaves through global value chains. This column examines how value chains have responded to two previous health shocks – SARS and MERS – in order to draw lessons for the current pandemic. There is evidence of geographical diversification within value chains, as well as of an overall non-resilience to the SARS epidemic in particular. The effects are driven by lower-middle-income importers that were more integrated in global value chains, received more investment, were more competitive, and were more reliant on the severely affected partners. Similar disruptions are likely to follow Covid-19.

Federico Di Pace, Luciana Juvenal, Ivan Petrella, 28 November 2020

The abrupt movements in commodity prices at the onset of the Covid-19 crisis have reignited policymakers’ concerns over movements in the terms of trade. The shock has certainly confirmed that terms of trade are very volatile and extremely sensitive to changes in global economic activity. This column argues that these terms of trade shocks are likely to have a persistent impact on the business cycle of developing economies, which are particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in the price of their exports.  

Christine Arriola, Przemyslaw Kowalski, Frank van Tongeren, 15 November 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has left in its wake a global economy damaged beyond what was thought possible a decade ago. The globalised nature of the 21st century global economy is a key component in terms of the dynamics, and effects, of the virus. This column presents an analysis of the importance of global value chains, both during the pandemic and throughout the recovery process. The results of the study suggest that increased localisation could do more harm than good, and that the international network of interconnected supply chains remains key to producing essential goods and services.

Guillaume Vuillemey, 27 September 2020

The maritime shipping industry has been the backbone of globalisation, carrying 80% to 90% of global trade flows. This column shows that over the past four decades, shipping firms are being systematically structured to evade corporate responsibilities. Potential tort liabilities, for example in case of an oil spill, are evaded by registering each ship in a different subsidiary; regulatory standards are evaded by using flags of convenience; and long-term responsibilities related to ship recycling are evaded using so-called last-voyage flags.

Ravi Kanbur, 21 September 2020

From the public discourse, it seems clear that we are living in an age of rising inequality. However, common measures of income and consumption inequality disguise a more nuanced pattern of inequality change across the world. This column argues that inequality within countries has not been rising everywhere and that inequality between countries has decreased. At the same time, technological progress is increasingly displacing basic labour in favour of skilled labour and capital, across borders, and widening the wage gap. The overall effect is unclear. National policies to mitigate inequality are needed but, in the absence of international cooperation, are constrained by cross-border spillovers.

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