Ann Harrison, Leslie Martin, Shanthi Nataraj, 22 March 2011

It is broadly agreed that trade liberalisation can increase productivity. The question is how. Earlier literature emphasises the role of firms “learning” to be more productive, whereas recent studies suggest that more productive firms are “stealing” market share from less productive ones, thus raising overall productivity. Presenting evidence from India’s trade liberalisation since 1991, this column finds evidence for both but argues that learning outweighs stealing.

Pravin Krishna, Devashish Mitra, Asha Sundaram, 13 February 2011

Trade liberalisation is often controversial in developing countries. This column argues that uneven exposure to trade across the various regions of South Asia has stifled the poverty-alleviating impact of trade liberalisation. It claims this research underscores the importance of developing ports, transport, and communications infrastructure to help ensure wider access and exposure to international markets and the benefits they can bring.

Michael Huberman, Christopher Meissner, 23 October 2009

Globalisation is often accused of unleashing a race to the bottom in labour regulation and social protection. The evidence suggests otherwise. This column explains how, historically, trade itself was a path to better labour regulation and social entitlements.

Roberta Piermartini, 26 July 2009

In times of economic difficulty, governments are often under pressure to adopt measures to restrict trade. This column says that contingency measures allowing trade policy flexibility can play an important role in maintaining a rule-based system of multilateral trade in such circumstances. But there is sufficient latitude for WTO-compliant protectionism that vigilant monitoring remains necessary.

Kimberly Elliott, 27 May 2009

The economic crisis is hitting the world’s poorest countries through falling trade and commodity prices. This column argues that the US should respond by further opening its market to exports from small, poor economies. That would not only provide an additional stimulus to those economies but also strengthen US global leadership, give a boost to the Doha Round, and serve broader US national interests by helping to promote political stability in some very shaky parts of the world.

Olivier Accominotti, 23 April 2009

China’s “dollar trap” has many analysts worried about its future resolution. This column discusses a similar situation in the 1920s when France held more than half the world’s foreign reserves. France’s “sterling trap” ended disastrously. Sterling suffered a major currency crisis, French authorities lost a lot of money, and subsequent policy reactions deepened the Great Depression.

Andrew Rose, 16 April 2009

Hosting “mega-events” like the Olympics or World Cup is very costly and seems to yield few tangible benefits. But this column presents evidence suggesting that hosting such events has a positive impact on national exports – trade is around 30% higher for countries that have hosted the Olympics. It suggests that bidding to host the Olympics or World Cup may signal trade liberalisation.

Matthew Adler, Gary Hufbauer, 10 March 2009

This column shows that 25% of US merchandise trade growth since 1980 was due to policy liberalisation. But as the financial crisis has taken hold, policymakers seem more likely to accept new episodes of protection than to energetically seek trade liberalisation. Protectionist initiatives on top of crisis losses would be a colossal mistake.

Paolo Epifani, Gino Gancia, 07 October 2008

Wage inequality between skilled and unskilled workers has increased in recent years, particularly in countries that opened their markets to international trade. This column explains how trade may push up the demand for skilled workers worldwide by creating larger international markets for differentiated goods.

Alan Taylor, Antoni Estevadeordal, 24 August 2008

The link between greater openness to trade and higher growth, once held sacred by economists, has come under contestation in recent years. The authors of DP6942 develop a growth model with a basis for trade in order to uncover the impressive impact trade has had upon growth of GDP, using data from before and after the Uruguay Round.

Marc Flandreau, 23 August 2008

As WTO negotiations have failed, pragmatists have embraced preferential trade agreements. This column presents new evidence on the Anglo-French treaty of 1860 and argues that, contrary to all conventional wisdom, history’s most celebrated bilateral deal did not stimulate trade. That lesson should give pause to modern advocates of preferential trade agreements.

Bruce Blonigen, 17 July 2008

The Doha Round is stagnant, which does not bode well for trade liberalisation in the near future and possibly for the World Trade Organization in the long run. This column highlights the lessons of a new report on reviving the Doha Round, emphasising long-term trends that must be addressed, lest the WTO become obsolete.

Alan Taylor, 11 July 2008

Alan Taylor of the University of California Davis talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about the first era of globalisation and the policy lessons that researchers in economic history and international economics are drawing for contemporary experiences of financial market integration, trade liberalisation and the growth of international reserves. The interview was recorded at the American Economic Association meetings in New Orleans in January 2008.

Richard Baldwin, 01 July 2008

The World Trade Organisation is losing its place at the centre of the global trading system. Absent reforms, the rules-based architecture of international trade may collapse into a “might makes right” affair.

Eric Edmonds, Nina Pavcnik, 28 May 2008

India’s trade liberalisation in the 1990s produced large gains, but it imposed significant costs of adjustment on communities with industries that lost tariff protection. A new study shows that those communities’ educational attainment lags behind the rest of India due to the intersection of trade adjustment, poverty, and schooling costs.

Richard Baldwin, 29 February 2008

Trade liberalisation is proceeding everywhere but at the WTO: while nations drag their feet in Geneva, they sign bilateral trade agreements by the dozen. Finishing the ongoing WTO talks is important, but regionalism is the new reality. To maintain its relevance, the WTO must adapt, as regionalism is here to stay.

Jim Rollo, Michael Gasiorek, Peter Holmes, 30 November 2007

EU-India trade talks began well in June 2007. India’s rapidly expanding role in the world economy as a buyer and seller make this an important free trade agreement for the EU, as recent research shows, but prospects for success are uncertain.

Peter Draper, 12 August 2007

The EU must finalise trade deals with developing nations by January 2008. Problems abound and EU special interest politics threaten to stand in the way of an outcome supportive to African development needs.

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