Katherine Stapleton, Michael Webb, 12 December 2020

There has been much speculation that automation in high-income countries will lead to reshoring of production from lower-income countries or further reduce offshoring. Using rich data on Spanish manufacturing firms between 1990 and 2016, this column studies how automation in Spanish firms affected imports and multinational activity involving lower-income countries. It shows that, contrary to the typical assumption, the deployment of robots in Spanish manufacturing firms actually caused them to increase offshoring to lower-income countries. This effect was mainly caused by firms starting to newly offshore as a consequence of automation.

Ayça Tekin-Koru, 14 May 2020

The strict and prolonged age-specific containment measures in Turkey have both reduced infection/death rates and enabled less strict restrictions for the lower-risk groups. This column reviews Turkey’s response and examines the real-time effects of the COVID-19 crisis on production in Turkey. If finds that the targeted containment measures appear to have helped reduce a contraction in production that could have been much worse with a uniform lockdown. It also finds that the major brunt of the health crisis in terms of its human costs has been borne by the working class.

Kemal Kilic, Dalia Marin, 10 May 2020

In the wake of the Global Crisis, uncertainty in the world economy led many firms to reassess their business models. Rather than relying on global supply chains, an increasing number of firms invested in robots, which prompted a renaissance of manufacturing in industrialised countries. This column argues that changes in the world economy due to COVID-19 make a V-shaped recovery from the coming recession unlikely. Instead, COVID-19 will accelerate the process begun after the Global Crisis by encouraging firms to re-shore activity back to rich countries.

Christopher Woodruff, 30 April 2020

Low-income countries lack the resources to replicate European-style income support programmes to alleviate the economic impact of COVID-19 lockdowns. In Bangladesh, a key challenge will be to support export-oriented production in the ready-made garment sector, which employs 4 million workers. Whether factories retain or lay off workers in response to government policies – and whether the health crisis escalates into a humanitarian crisis or not – depends crucially on decisions of foreign apparel buyers to honour or drop commitments to previously agreed orders.

Fernando Leibovici, Ana Maria Santacreu, Makenzie Peake, 13 April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating a massive shortage of medical equipment. To face the health crisis, the US needs to increase its supply of protective equipment, and equipment needed to treat infected patients. This column studies the extent to which the US relies on other countries to supply its demand for critical medical goods. Given its heavy reliance on other countries also affected by COVID-19, the US might need to urgently design policies to boost its production of these goods.

Yasuyuki Todo, Yuzuka Kashiwagi, Petr Matous, 19 November 2018

Global producers, service providers, and international financial institutions are becoming increasingly intertwined through expanding supply chains. This column uses new firm-level data on the impact of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 to examine how economic shocks are propagated by global supply chains. While the hurricane’s negative shock appeared to propagate among firms within the US, the shock does not seem to have spread internationally. The findings suggest that access to global opportunities and to alternative partners can be a source of resilience against disaster shocks for internationalised firms.

Lianming Zhu, Koji Ito, Eiichi Tomiura, 28 January 2017

We still know little about how firms alter their global sourcing patterns when facing uncertainty and shocks. This column uses Japanese firm-level data compiled after the Great East Japan earthquake of 2011 to show that firms in affected areas reacted immediately by offshoring more, but that this affect was significant only in the manufacturing sector. Policies to facilitate offshoring would support such emergency responses in future.

Bart Los, Marcel Timmer, Gaaitzen De Vries, 11 May 2014

Global value chains play an important role in many nations’ globalisation and development policies. Using a new indicator based on a global dataset – the World Input-Output Database – this column shows that international production networks have, since 2000, spread across regional blocs faster than they have spread within them. ‘Factory World’ is still a work in progress, but the construction is progressing rapidly

Pascal Lamy, 18 December 2013

The emergence of intra-firm trade as the primary component of international trade reflects a global interdependence in the production process. In this column the former Director-General of the WTO argues that this necessitates a re-examination of how we think about – and how we measure – trade between nations. Interdependence allows different sectors to add value, and complicates the implementation of trade barriers. Only with a modern perspective can effective trade policy be conducted.

Masahisa Fujita, 18 November 2013

A major feature of globalisation in the last decades has been the emergence of global supply chains, especially in Asia. This column explains how supply chains may increase the risks of shock contagion across countries. It shows how the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the floods in Thailand had ripple effects on the Japanese automobile industry across countries. It suggests that greater international cooperation, such as the development of sister industrial clusters, is one way to mitigate the risks.

Hubert Escaith, Robert Teh, Alexander Keck, Coleman Nee, 28 April 2011

The consequences of the tragic disaster in Japan are many. This column examines the trade effects. It suggests that Japanese exports will fall by 0.5–1.6% and its imports will rise by 0.4–1.3%. Despite the devastation in Japan, the effects on global trade will be relatively small.

CEPR Policy Research