The COVID-19 pandemic is a significant de-globalisation shock at a time when globalisation was already on the backfoot from President Trump’s trade war while not fully recovering from the global financial crisis according to new research from the United States Studies Centre.

The research finds that although the pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities through international connectedness, it has also dramatised the economic benefits of globalisation. As borders closed, economies turned down and jobs were lost in a way unprecedented since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

“Recovery from the economic downturn will require re-establishing international connections severed by the pandemic. However, it is also likely to be accompanied by a push for greater resilience to international shocks,” says Dr Stephen Kirchner, Program Director, Trade and Investment, at the United States Studies Centre.

“Fortunately, globalisation is not inconsistent with increased resilience to shocks like COVID-19. Globalisation refers to both the depth and breadth of international engagement and is consistent with seeking increased diversity in trading partners,” Dr Kirchner concludes.

Globalisation and labour productivity in the OECD: What are the implications for post-pandemic recovery and resilience? is now available for download.

The United States Studies Centre is hosting a webinar on this topic with report author Dr Stephen Kirchner and Professor Douglas Irwin from Dartmouth College. Register here for the webinar.

To book a briefing with Dr Stephen Kirchner, please email us at:

Key points

  • The report examines the relationship between measures of globalisation and productivity across the OECD economies for the period 1970 to 2017.
  • The measure of globalisation used rewards greater diversity among trade and treaty partners and so is consistent with the objective of increasing resilience to foreign shocks and supply chain disruptions.
  • For OECD countries, a 1 per cent increase in a broad measure of globalisation raises labour productivity by 0.85 per cent, while a 1per cent increase in economic globalisation raises productivity by 0.5 per cent in the long-run.
  • The report also finds a negative long-run relationship between the government share of consumption spending and labour productivity.
  • A key lesson from the pandemic is that international connectedness need not be a source of vulnerability or lack of resilience.

View or download report


Taylor Mellor
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