The US economy is often referred to as the “banker to the world,” due to its unique role in supplying global reserve assets and funding foreign risky investment. This paper develops a general equilibrium model to analyze and quantify the contribution of this role to rising wealth concentration among American households. I highlight the following points: 1) financial globalization raises wealth inequality in a financially-developed economy initially due to foreign capital pressing up domestic asset prices; 2) much of this increase is transitory and can be reversed as future expected returns on domestic assets fall; and 3) despite the low-interest-rate environment, newly accessed foreign capital provides incentives for affluent households to reallocate wealth toward risky assets while impoverished households increase their debt. Wealth concentration ensues only if this rebalancing effect is large enough to counteract diminished return on domestic assets. Quantitative analysis suggests that global financial integration alone can account for a third to a half of the observed increase in the current top one percent wealth share in the US, but indicates a possible reversal in the future.
Mr. Balazs Csonto, Yuxuan Huang, and Mr. Camilo E Tovar Mora
This paper examines the extent to which digitalization—measured by a new proxy based on IP addresses allocations per country—has influenced inflation dynamics in a sample of 36 advanced and emerging economies over 2000-2017. Phillips curve estimates show that digitalization has a statistically significant negative effect on inflation in the short run. Its economic impact is not large but has increased since 2012 and mainly operates through a cost/competition channel. Principal components and cointegration analysis further suggest digitalization is a key driver of lower trend inflation.
We argue that strong globalization forces have been an important determinant of global real interest rates over the last five decades, as they have been key drivers of changes in the natural real interest rate—i.e. the interest rate consistent with output at its potential and constant inflation. An important implication of our analysis is that increased competition in goods and labor market since the 1970s can help explain both the large increase in real interest rates up to the mid-1980s and—as globalization forces mature and may even go into reverse, leading to incrementally rising market power—its subsequent and protracted decline accompanied by lower inflation. The analysis has important implications for monetary policy and the optimal pace of normalization.
Over the last two decades, world trade and production have become increasingly organized around global value chains (GVC). Recent theoretical work has shown that countries can benefit from participation in GVCs through multiple channels. However, little is known empirically about the economic importance of supply chains. We use the Eora MRIO database to compute different measures of GVC participation for 189 countries and illustrate global patterns of supply chains as well as their evolution over time in order to contribute to this topic. We find that GVC-related trade, rather than conventional trade, has a positive impact on income per capita and productivity, however there is large heterogeneity and the gains appear more signifcant for upper-middle and high-income countries. We document that “moving up” to more high-tech sectors while participating in major supply chains does take place but is not universal, suggesting other factors matter. We confirm the findings of the standard gravity literature for GVC trade; highlighting the key role of institutional features such as contract enforcement and the quality of infrastructure as determinants of GVC participation.
Ms. Alina Carare, Bertrand Candelon, Jean-Baptiste Hasse, and Jing Lu
This study expands the empirical specification of Cerra and Saxena (2008), and allows short-term output growth regimes to be determined by globalization. Relying on a non-linear dynamic panel representation, it reconciles the earlier results in the literature regarding the two opposite narratives of the effects of globalization on output growth. Countries experience higher growth, on average, the more open and integrated they are into the world. However, once they reach a certain globalization threshold (endogenously estimated), countries may also experience a new normal, persistently lower short-term output growth following a financial crisis. The benefits, as well as vulnerabilities, accrue earlier in the globalization process for low- and middle-income countries. To solely reap the globalization benefits on growth, sound policies should be in place to mitigate the negative effects stemming from increased vulnerabilities brought by globalization.
We study economic globalization as a multidimensional process and investigate its effect on incomes. In a panel of 147 countries during 1970-2014, we apply a new instrumental variable, exploiting globalization’s geographically diffusive character, and find differential gains from globalization both across and within countries: Income gains are substantial for countries at early and medium stages of the globalization process, but the marginal returns diminish as globalization rises, eventually becoming insignificant. Within countries, these gains are concentrated at the top of national income distributions, resulting in rising inequality. We find that domestic policies can mitigate the adverse distributional effects of globalization.
In light of increased vertical specialization and the dominance of trade in intermediates rather than final goods, this paper seeks to raise awareness of the limitations of traditional trade measures on a gross output basis. To do so, this paper uses the WIOD, a world input output table, as an alternative trade measure to analyze the role of six newly industrialized economies in global value chains. The differences between measures on a gross output basis and value added basis are striking. Export shares measured by both methods differed by more than 20 percent for some industries. These findings highlight the need for more sophisticated world input output data to form a better understanding of global trade dynamics and country interdependencies.
Mr. Hideaki Hirata, Mr. Ayhan Kose, Mr. Christopher Otrok, and Mr. Marco Terrones
We examine the properties of house price fluctuations across 18 advanced economies over the past 40 years. We ask two specific questions: First, how synchronized are housing cycles across these countries? Second, what are the main shocks driving movements in global house prices? To address these questions, we first estimate the global components in house prices and various macroeconomic and financial variables. We then evaluate the roles played by a variety of global shocks, including shocks to interest rates, monetary policy, productivity, credit, and uncertainty, in explaining house price fluctuations using a wide range of FAVAR models. We find that house prices are synchronized across countries, and the degree of synchronization has increased over time. Global interest rate shocks tend to have a significant negative effect on global house prices whereas global monetary policy shocks per se do not appear to have a sizeable impact. Interestingly, uncertainty shocks seem to be important in explaining fluctuations in global house prices.