Lucian Cernat, Marlene Madsen, 23 March 2011

Compared to recent headline-grabbing events, dealing with “behind-the-border barriers” and keeping protectionist tendencies at bay might seem to be small potatoes. This column argues that the “murky protectionism” that affects €100 billion of trade will have profound implications for Europe and the rest of the world, and as such is worthy of attention.

Carmen Reinhart, Vincent Reinhart, 25 February 2011

Sudden stops and reversals in capital flows are the stuff of policymakers’ nightmares. This column builds on the last 20 years of research and argues that the capital-inflow dilemma is not an external problem – it is an eternal one.

Peter Sutherland, 04 February 2011

Peter Sutherland, former director general of the World Trade Organization, talks to Viv Davies about the recently published interim report on ‘The Doha Round: Setting a deadline, defining a final deal’. He explains why Doha has stalled and presents the case for its immediate completion. He maintains it is crucial that governments now commit to concluding Doha by the end of 2011 or else the round is doomed and all that has been achieved will be lost, with disastrous consequences for world trade. The interview was recorded by telephone on 1 February 2011. [Also read the transcript]

Nicolas Véron, 19 January 2011

With emerging and oil-rich economies increasingly investing in European companies, some have proposed modifying the EU’s stance on foreign investment for reasons of geopolitical security. But this often is a guise for protecting narrow political interests, particularly as unemployment rises. This column calls for a clear and consistent legal framework to avoid the dangerous extremes of complete closure and complete, unchecked openness.

Marcos Chamon, Kai Liu, Eswar Prasad, 18 January 2011

In an effort to reduce its sizeable current-account surplus, the Chinese government has made it a priority to “rebalance” growth in China by stoking private consumption. This column examines the determinants of the high household saving rate that keeps Chinese consumption so low.

Brad McDonald, Christian Henn, 22 December 2010

The independent Global Trade Alert has identified hundreds of protectionist measures since its launch in 2008. This column argues that the protectionist measures are associated with substantial changes in bilateral trade flows. It adds that border measures and behind-the-border measures, including bailouts and subsidies, contribute equally to an annual aggregate trade distortion of at least $35 billion.

Wolfgang Keller, Ben Li, Carol Shiue, 19 December 2010

The growing power of Chinese trade is almost daily news. This column argues that China’s role in world trade today is shaped in part by the post-1978 market reforms and in part by the Western invasion in the 19th century. Following the Opium Wars, China was forced to open its borders, providing the bedrock of technology and infrastructure that supported its future growth.

Raphael Auer, 10 December 2010

Do skill-intensive imports from rich nations reduce skill accumulation in emerging economies? This column presents new evidence from 41 emerging economies to suggest that being close to the global supply of skilled labour decreases domestic human capital. A one-standard deviation higher geographic proximity to skilled labour is associated with a 12% lower average education length of the country’s workforce. This may have profound consequences for the ability of poorer nations to catch up with richer ones.

Andreas Fuchs, Nils-Hendrik Klann, 10 November 2010

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Liu Xiaobo, the human rights activist who is currently a prisoner in China. Beijing has condemned the decision, saying it will harm relations with Norway. This column argues this threat should be taken seriously. It shows that receiving the Dalai Lama, who is perceived as a threat by the Chinese, can decrease exports to China by as much as 8.1%.

Jean Imbs, 10 November 2010

What makes the global crisis global? This column argues that the interdependence of the global economy, brought about by financial linkages between developed countries as well as goods trade ties with developing countries, has made the global crisis the first global recession in decades.

Michael Moore, Thomas Prusa, 08 November 2010

Last month the US Department of Commerce announced a series of proposals to strengthen the enforcement of US trade laws. This column argues that these proposals will directly undercut President Obama’s trade commitments announced in his 2010 State of the Union Address – reducing access to critical inputs for US firms and increasing the chances that they face the same treatment abroad. It begs US policymakers to reconsider.

Volker Nitsch, Helge Berger, 02 November 2010

What can policymakers do to redress the global imbalances? This column presents evidence from 18 European countries over the past 60 years. It finds that while permanently fixed nominal exchange rates often result in large and lasting trade imbalances, these imbalances usually reflect a difference in trade competitiveness that can be addressed through structural and macroeconomic policies.

Francesco D'Amuri, Giovanni Peri, 31 October 2010

Several studies find that immigrants do not harm the wages and job prospects of native workers. This column seeks to explain these somewhat counterintuitive findings by emphasizing the scope for complementarities between foreign-born and native workers. Examining 14 European countries from 1996 to 2007, it finds that immigrants often supply manual skills, leaving native workers to take up jobs that require more complex skills – even boosting demand for them. Immigrants replace “tasks”, not workers.

Yiping Huang, 19 October 2010

The ongoing global imbalances has strengthened calls for the US to declare trade war with China. This column argues that the US did not emerge victorious from the last currency war with Japan, and against China the chances are even slimmer. Instead the upcoming G20 meeting should focus on a broad range of structural adjustments from both sides.

Jens Arnold, Beata Javorcik, Molly Lipscomb, Aaditya Mattoo, 12 October 2010

Conventional explanations for the post-1991 growth of India’s manufacturing sector focus on trade liberalisation and industrial de-licensing. This column examines 4,000 Indian firms from 1993 to 2005 and argues that a key factor for the success of Indian manufacturing may lie outside of manufacturing – in the services sector.

Chunding Li, John Whalley, Yan Chen, 08 October 2010

As the debate over global imbalances develops, this column asks whether the discussion is based on faulty data. Using data from the US, Japan, Germany, and the Czech Republic, it argues that not taking due account of foreign affiliate sales leads to a warped view of trade in goods and services.

Karen-Helene Ulltveit-Moe, Andreas Moxnes, 01 October 2010

The great trade collapse during the global crisis has opened a new chapter in trade debate. This column uses evidence from a real-exchange-rate shock in Norway to show how firms initially slowed down or postponed the introduction of new products to the market. It argues that this sort of response suggests a long and difficult recovery from the global trade collapse – unless policymakers intervene.

Daniel Gros, 08 October 2010

With the US threatening to label China a “currency manipulator”, this column presents a plan to address global imbalances without risking a trade war. It proposes a “reciprocity” requirement – if the US can’t buy Chinese government bonds, then China can’t buy US bonds either.

Raphael Auer, 19 September 2010

Do differences in tastes impede gains from trade? This column says that that may be the case only in special circumstances. In fact, the effects of trade liberalization may be entirely unaffected by the distribution of foreign tastes and coincide with those of a representative agent approach.

Simon Evenett, 16 September 2010

Our understanding of the recent recovery in world trade would be incomplete without a consideration of the export inducements put in place during the past 12 to 18 months by major trading nations. This column summarises the findings of the seventh report of the Global Trade Alert, including a regional focus on Latin America.

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