Daniel Gros, 30 June 2017

Trade liberalisation has been a significant driver of globalisation over the past half century, but global trade has slowed in recent years. This column argues that globalisation can also be driven by higher commodity prices, as commodities constitute a large fraction of global trade. This is reflected in trade volumes and commodity prices, which increased until around 2014 but have fallen since. Commodity price-driven globalisation implies lower living standards in advanced countries, as the higher commodity prices diminish the purchasing power of workers. 

Kristian Behrens, Théophile Bougna, Mark Brown, 05 March 2015

Transport costs fell precipitously during the last century leading many observers to posit that the world has ‘become flat’. If this were true, the costs of transporting goods should no longer have much bearing on firms’ location choices and the spatial structure of economic activity. This column, using manufacturing data for Canada from 1990 to 2008, argues that despite a decline in geographical concentration of industries, location patterns still change with fluctuations in transport costs.

Katharina Knoll, Moritz Schularick, Thomas Steger, 01 November 2014

House price fluctuations take centre stage in recent macroeconomic debates, but little is known about their long-run evolution. This column presents new house price indices for 14 advanced economies since 1870. Real house prices display a pronounced hockey-stick pattern over the past 140 years. They stayed constant from the 19th to the mid-20th century, but rose strongly in the second half of the 20th century. Sharply increasing land prices, not construction costs, were the key driver of this trend.

Holger Görg, László Halpern, Balázs Muraközy, 14 March 2010

Why are the prices of exports higher for countries that are further away – even when transport costs are excluded? This column suggests that this is partly because firms choose to ship out their best quality goods, just like a brewery with its “export” brands.

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