Laura Alfaro, Nicholas Bloom, Paola Conconi, Harald Fadinger, Patrick Legros, Andrew Newman, Raffaella Sadun, John Van Reenen, 26 September 2018

Economists have largely ignored the deep interdependency between integration and delegation. This column describes a new theory of integration and delegation choices aimed at shedding light on how these distinct elements of organisational design interact. Contrary to what is suggested by a naïve one-dimensional approach, the model predicts that delegation and outsourcing should be negatively correlated, a prediction that holds up well when the model is applied to data for thousands of firms across many industries and countries.

Katherine Eriksson, Zach Ward, 06 August 2018

Those opposed to immigration often contend that immigrants are slow to assimilate. This column takes a longer-term view of assimilation by looking at the degree of ethnic spatial segregation in the US during and after the Age of Mass Migration. New methods and newly digitised data suggest that segregation in the US between 1850 and 1940 was both higher and more widespread than previously thought. However, despite slow rates of spatial assimilation, immigrants tend to assimilate culturally at a fast rate. 

Samuel Bazzi, Arya Gaduh, Alex Rothenberg, Maisy Wong, 07 January 2018

Fostering a broad and inclusive sense of national identity is vital for long-term social cohesion, but it is difficult to achieve in light of rapidly growing local diversity. This column uses the example of Indonesia’s Transmigration Programme to show that residential mixing, linguistic differences, and the extent of political and economic competition between groups determine whether diversity leads to integration, social isolation, or segregation – all of which can be influenced by good policy. Properly implemented, such policies both increase social cohesion and encourage greater nation-building.

László Bruszt, Nauro Campos, 17 November 2017

The many benefits and costs of economic integration are notoriously difficult to pinpoint. This column introduces new institutional measures for 17 EU candidate countries since 1997 to explore whether deep integration helps the build-up of state capacity. Estimates highlight the relationship between judiciary capacity and bureaucratic independence as the key engine behind state capacity-building engendered by the prospect of EU membership.

Stijn Claessens, Neeltje van Horen, 10 April 2017

Foreign banks can be important for trade. They can increase the availability of external finance for exporting firms and help overcome information asymmetries. This column shows that firms in emerging markets tend to export more when foreign banks are present, especially when the parent bank is headquartered in the importing country. In advanced countries, where financial markets are more developed and information is more readily available, the presence of foreign banks does not play such a role. Financial globalisation through the local presence of foreign banks can thus positively affect real integration.

Victor Gay, Daniel Hicks, Estefania Santacreu-Vasut, 10 September 2016

Evidence suggests that many forms of gender inequality are higher in countries where the language distinguishes gender. But these patterns could arise spuriously, as languages and other cultural institutions have co-evolved throughout history. This column uses an epidemiological approach to isolate language from other cultural forces and provide direct evidence on whether language matters. The findings suggest how gender roles have been shaped, how they are perpetuated, and, ultimately, how they can be changed.

Laura Alfaro, Pol Antràs, Davin Chor, Paola Conconi, 14 November 2015

Trade in intermediate inputs now accounts for as much as two-thirds of international trade. Firms must decide which segments of their production processes to own and which to outsource. Using global plant-level data, this column empirically examines firms’ organisational choices along value chains. Decisions to integrate or outsource upstream and downstream functions are found to depend on demand elasticity relative to the substitutability of inputs. These results provide strong evidence that integration decisions are driven by contractual frictions.

Nauro Campos, Fabrizio Coricelli, Luigi Moretti, 19 June 2015

The imminence of the British referendum lays the European integration project at a crossroads. One tabled policy proposal is to offer different membership options – shallow integration (economic only) and deep integration (economic and political). This column presents new evidence comparing these two options. Focusing on Norway, a country that is economically but not politically associated with the EU, deep integration is estimated to bring a 6% productivity gain in the first five years, compared with shallow integration. These findings bring new economic arguments to debates about EU integration and membership.

Pablo Fajgelbaum, Stephen Redding, 12 July 2014

External integration is often viewed as an important driver of economic development, but most existing studies use aggregate data. This column present evidence from a natural experiment provided by Argentina’s integration into the world markets in the late 19th century. The findings suggest that proximity to trade centres is associated with employment density, high lands rates relative to wages, and structural transformation away from agriculture.

Bruno Maçães, 09 July 2014

The debate on the future of the European Union is in full swing. In this column, Bruno Macaes – the Portuguese Minister for Europe – stresses the importance of policy coordination in achieving better integration. One way to do so is via a fiscal union, but this creates unity at the expense of diversity. A second way involves formal contracts and partnerships. But to make this approach less rigid, the political dialogue does not need to be formalised in actual contracts.

Pieter Bevelander, Ravi Pendakur, 10 January 2011

The Great Recession worsened the already-intractable unemployment problem of many immigrant communities in western countries. Can acquiring citizenship improve employment prospects for immigrants? CEPR Discussion Paper 8182 argues that recent liberalization of citizenship regulations in Sweden and Canada has increased employment probabilities for immigrant groups in both countries.

Gianmarco Ottaviano, Giovanni Peri, 17 April 2008

Immigration of less educated, younger Eastern Europeans and North Africans to Western Europe would economically benefit its educated and older population. This column, summarising research on immigration effects in Germany, suggests that, to fully reap the benefits from immigration, Western Europe should make its labour markets more competitive and accessible to outsiders (immigrants) and its welfare state more selective.

Alberto Bisin, Eleonora Patacchini , Thierry Verdier, Yves Zenou, 19 September 2007

Are Muslims successfully resisting integration in the UK? And are Muslims who belong to certain socio-economic or demographic groups more likely to integrate than others?

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