Giovanni Federico, Antonio Tena-Junguito, 28 July 2018

Global trade data for periods prior to WWII are notoriously incomplete and unreliable. This column describes a new dataset of historical world trade that addresses many of these flaws. The World Trade Historical Database comprises imports and exports for polities beginning in 1800, and also includes international prices for 190 products, freight rates, and exchange rates, where available. Though focused on aggregate trade, the data include information on the composition of trade from numerous sources.

William Nordhaus, 08 October 2018

The change in the structure of global supply has important implications for US President Donald Trump as he contemplates tearing up existing international trade deals. This column argues that he risks destroying the fruits of almost 100 years of global trade cooperation, the benefits of which to citizens in the US far outweigh the costs. This spirit of cooperation is also the basis for coordinated global action on issues such as climate change.

Alessandro Borin, Virginia Di Nino, Michele Mancini, Massimo Sbracia, 23 March 2017

Recent global trade growth is even more disappointing than global GDP growth. This column argues that this unexpected weakness of trade relative to GDP is related to the high volatility and pro-cyclicality of real trade flows, and that cyclical forces are the main drivers. It also shows that the accuracy of existing trade forecasts can be improved using real-time data on business conditions.

Daniel Leigh, Weicheng Lian, Marcos Poplawski-Ribeiro, Viktor Tsyrennikov, 30 October 2015

A number of studies argue that exchange rates matter far less than they used to for trade, or even that they have disconnected altogether. This column presents new research suggesting that, in fact, there is little sign of a disconnect in the relationship between exchange rates and exports and imports; exchange rates still matter for trade. The findings indicate that 10% real effective exchange rate depreciation implies, on average, a 1.5% of GDP increase in real net exports.

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