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Pierre Kohler And Francis Cripps — Do Trade And Investment (Agreements) Foster Development Or Inequality?

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Pierre Kohler And Francis Cripps — Do Trade And Investment (Agreements) Foster Development Or Inequality?A recent UNCTAD/GDAE working paper. Abstract:This paper proposes to revisit the debate on trade and investment agreements (TIAs), development and inequality, looking at the role of Global Value Chains (GVCs) and transnational corporations (TNCs). It first presents stylized facts about trade and investment (agreements), declining global economic growth and rising inequality under the latest round of globalization. It then provides a long-run perspective on the mixed blessings of external opening, summarizing some key contributions of the mainstream literature, which are converging with long-standing research findings of more heterodox economists, and the eroding consensus today. Based on

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Pierre Kohler And Francis Cripps — Do Trade And Investment (Agreements) Foster Development Or Inequality?

A recent UNCTAD/GDAE working paper. Abstract:

This paper proposes to revisit the debate on trade and investment agreements (TIAs), development and inequality, looking at the role of Global Value Chains (GVCs) and transnational corporations (TNCs). It first presents stylized facts about trade and investment (agreements), declining global economic growth and rising inequality under the latest round of globalization. It then provides a long-run perspective on the mixed blessings of external opening, summarizing some key contributions of the mainstream literature, which are converging with long-standing research findings of more heterodox economists, and the eroding consensus today. Based on this stock-taking, it takes a fresh critical look at the TIAs-GVCs-TNCs nexus and their impact. Using data on value-added in trade and new firm-level data from the consolidated financial statements of the top 2000 TNCs going back to 1995, it examines whether the fragmentation of production along GVCs led to positive structural change or rather stimulated unsustainable trends in extractive and FIRE sectors. It then turns to the role of TNC-driven GVCs as a vehicle for economic concentration. Finally, it presents evidence linking TIAs and their correlates to rising inequality. Key findings include the fact that the ratio of top 2000 TNCs profits over revenues increased by 58 percent between 1995 and 2015. Moreover, the rise in top 2000 TNCs profits accounts for 69 percent of the 2.5 percentage points decline in the global labour income share between 1995 and 2015, with the correlation coefficient between annual changes in both variables as high as 0.82. The paper concludes by calling for a less ideological policy debate on TIAs, which acknowledges the mixed blessings of external financial and trade opening, especially their negative distributional impact and destabilizing macro-financial feedback effects, which both call for policy intervention. As an alternative to short-sighted protectionism, it further discusses possible options for anticipating undesirable effects arising from TIAs (e.g. rising carbon emissions, economic instability, inequality, etc.) and addressing those in TIAs themselves.

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