Italo Colantone, Gianmarco Ottaviano, Piero Stanig, 01 November 2021

As populist parties have surged across advanced democracies so, it seems, has a ‘globalisation backlash’. This column provides descriptive evidence on the backlash, discusses its theoretical underpinnings within standard trade models, and reviews the evidence on its drivers. It appears that globalisation is at stake partly due to reasons that are not strictly related to trade. The political sustainability of globalisation – and arguably of the international liberal order – will depend on how successful societies are at managing in a more inclusive way the distributional consequences of structural change.

Youngmin Baek, Kazunobu Hayakawa, Kenmei Tsubota, Shujiro Urata, Kenta Yamanouchi, 03 June 2020

Anti-globalisation sentiment has been spreading around the world in recent years. Since trade liberalisation is one of the representative characteristics of globalisation, investigating who benefits from it, and to what extent, can be an important starting point in analysing the causes of anti-globalisation sentiment and promoting liberalisation. This column explains how the rent from trade liberalisation, in the form of tariff reductions, is distributed among foreign producers, wholesalers, and consumers by investigating the tariff pass-through for each player.

Cevat Giray Aksoy, Sergei Guriev, Daniel Treisman, 08 May 2018

Attitudes toward globalisation have emerged as a new dimension of political alignment, alongside – or even instead of – the traditional left-right cleavage. This column uses data covering nearly 450,000 individuals in 118 countries over the last ten years to show that highly skilled individuals approve of their government more when high skill-intensive exports increase, but approve of it less when high skill-intensive imports rise. More generally – and contrary to the conventional wisdom – unskilled workers do not oppose imports and blame their leaders for failing to protect markets.

Klaus Desmet, Dávid Krisztián Nagy, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 30 November 2016

Recent political events have highlighted a growing anti-globalisation sentiment, evident in scepticism towards free trade and resistance to immigration. However, existing analyses focus on short-term, local effects. Using global data, this column takes account of the complex relations between trade, migration, innovation, and growth. Liberal trade and immigration stances are found to have positive effects on global output. The results suggest that globalisation remains a tremendously powerful engine of growth.

Christian Dippel, Robert Gold, Stephan Heblich, 07 October 2016

The increasing polarisation of politics in the US in particular has spurred scholarly research on the potential links to increasing globalisation. This column focuses instead on Germany to investigate whether the rise of right-wing populism is associated with increased international trade. Regions most threatened by exposure to imports saw increases in support for far-right parties, while regions that benefited from export opportunities saw decreases. To counter this globalisation backlash, policy should aim to cushion the effects of trade exposure on the losers from globalisation. 


CEPR Policy Research