David Clayton, David Higgins, 23 September 2020

After Brexit, the UK government will enjoy greater freedom to encourage domestic consumers to “Buy British”. But as this column explains, attempts by successive UK governments in the 1970s and early 1980s to initiate such import substitution policies were fraught with economic and legal difficulties. Indeed, accelerating globalisation and the rapid growth of imports in intermediate products for assembly into ‘British’ goods raise significant problems in defining a ‘national’ product – and the growth of tradable services (such as insurance, education and healthcare) presents an even more intractable problem.

Lewis Dijkstra, Hugo Poelman, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 07 December 2019

Support for Eurosceptic parties and the rise of populism threaten not only European integration, but peace and prosperity on the continent more broadly. Rather than attributing their rise to the individual characteristics of voters – such as age or income – this column takes a different approach. Using results from recent legislative elections to map the geography of EU discontent, it finds that purely geographical factors – chiefly, long-term economic and industrial decline – are the fundamental drivers of anti-European voting.

Nicola Gennaioli, Guido Tabellini, 06 June 2019

In recent decades, the political systems of advanced democracies have witnessed large changes, often in reaction to economic shocks due to globalisation and technology.  This column uses insights from the social psychology of groups to explain how when large shocks hit, new cleavages in society emerge. This causes individuals to shift their beliefs about themselves and others in the direction of new social stereotypes. If globalisation clusters society in a nationalist versus cosmopolitan cleavage instead of the traditional left versus right, this may dampen demand for redistribution despite potential increases in income inequality. 

Thomas Sampson, 19 October 2017

While we can estimate the economic impact of Brexit, we do not yet understand what made people vote for it. This column argues that political pro-Brexit rhetoric conflates two distinct hypotheses that have different policy implications. If voters wanted to reclaim sovereignty from the EU, they may view a negative economic impact as a price worth paying. But, if 'left-behind' voters blamed the EU for their economic and social problems, post-Brexit policy should focus on the underlying causes of discontent.

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. 

Avner Offer, 19 September 2014

Victory in World War I relied on three types of energy: renewable energy for food and fodder, fossil energy, and high explosive. This column argues that the Allies had a clear advantage in manpower, coal, and agriculture, but not enough for a quick decision. Mobilisation in continental economies curtailed food production, occasionally to a critical level. Technical competition was a matter of capacity for innovation, not of particular breakthroughs. Coercive military service and rationing of scarce energy and food had egalitarian consequences that continued after the war.

Martin Halla, Alexander Wagner, Josef Zweimüller, 29 November 2015

Europe is experiencing an unprecedented inflow of immigrants. Casual observation suggests that far-right parties could benefit from voters’ worries about this inflow. This update to a column from September 2012 provides empirical evidence showing that the geographic proximity of immigrants is one important causal driver behind support for the far right. The link with voting outcomes depends on the type of immigration, however, not just on the total number of immigrants.

Daron Acemoğlu, Pierre Yared, 07 March 2010

Is globalisation inevitable and irreversible? This column argues that globalisation is a policy choice. It examines the relationship between military expansion and international trade flows, finding that increased nationalist and militarist sentiments are negatively associated with trade. A 10% increase in military spending between 1985 and 2005 is associated with a reduction in the trade share of GDP of around 2%.

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