Masayuki Morikawa, 23 June 2016

The shifting balance between manufacturing and service industries in developed economies has significant implications for long-term growth and international trade. This column uses Japanese firm-level data to analyse the impact of ‘factoryless goods producers’ on overall productivity. As these producers specialise in tasks in which advanced economies have a comparative advantage, it is anticipated that when combined with falling production costs and trade liberalisation, they will contribute to economic growth.

Cristina Constantinescu, Aaditya Mattoo, Michele Ruta, 25 May 2016

Trade has been growing more slowly since the Great Recession not only because global GDP growth is lower, but also because trade itself has become less responsive to GDP. The causes of the changing trade-income relationship have been studied, but its consequences have not. This column presents a simple framework to assess some of the demand-side and supply-side implications. The change hurts growth, although the quantifiable effects are not large.  

João Amador, Filippo di Mauro, 09 September 2015

There is an urgent need for policymakers to fully acknowledge the extent to which conventional indicators related to gross trade are severely flawed as policy benchmarks because they fail to take into account the existence of global value chains and their increasing role in shaping the global economy. This column, which introduces a new Vox eBook, urges academics to start proposing workable indicators that are systematically produced and readily available.

Bernard Hoekman, 24 June 2015

The world’s trade-to-GDP ratio climbed steadily for six decades. The rise slowed even before the Global Crisis and world trade growth has been anaemic since 2010. Recent data shows it declining, leading some to wonder whether global trade has peaked. This column introduces a new eBook that examines the issue from a wide range of perspectives. No consensus emerges but it is clear that this is not just a cyclical issue – something structural changed. 

Timothy Sturgeon, 20 May 2015

With global value chains that fragment production across the world, national statistics fail to capture the growing interconnectedness of economies. This column describes the international input-output tables that allow researchers to estimate the share of a country’s export value derived from imported inputs. However, while these tools offer promising uses, at the moment statistics on trade in value added should be treated with great caution.

Dario Fauceglia, Andrea Lassmann, Anirudh Shingal, Martin Wermelinger, 18 February 2015

The sharp appreciation of the Swiss franc has once more raised fears about negative export growth and resulting losses for Swiss exporters. However, this column suggests that the Swiss economy’s high level of integration into global value chains potentially mitigates these negative effects by rendering imported intermediate inputs cheaper, thus reducing pressures on profit margins through the imported inputs channel.

Gary Gereffi , Xubei Luo, 14 June 2014

The explosion of trade in intermediate goods has created new development opportunities, but many of the jobs at the bottom of global value chains are low-paid, insecure, and dangerous. This column argues that participation in global value chains brings risks as well as opportunities. The gains from ‘moving up the global value chain’ are not equally distributed – large, professional, high-tech firms with diversified export markets, and high-skilled workers with formalised contracts benefit the most.

Demián Dalle, Verónica Fossati, Federico Lavopa, 13 April 2014

Discussions of global value chains (GVCs) have permeated international organisations’ research and policy agendas. This column presents a critical view on some of the recent policy recommendations that urge for as much liberalisation of trade in goods and services as possible. These proposals cannot be automatically applied to developing countries without some type of government intervention.

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