Winners and Losers over Two Centuries of Globalization

  • Jeffrey G. Williamson
Part of the Studies in Development Economics and Policy book series (SDEP)


The world has seen two globalization booms over the past two centuries, and one bust. The first global century ended with the First World War and the second started at the end of Second World War, while the years in between were ones of anti-global backlash. This chapter reports what we know about the winners and losers during the two global centuries, including aspects almost always ignored in modern debate — how prices of consumption goods on the expenditure side are affected, and how the economic position of the poor is influenced. It also reports two responses of the winners to the losers’ complaints. Some concessions to the losers took the form of anti-global policy manifested by immigration restriction in the high-wage countries and trade restriction pretty much everywhere. Some concessions to the losers were also manifested by a ‘race towards the top’ whereby legislation strengthened losers’ safety nets and increased their sense of political participation. The chapter concludes with four lessons of history and an agenda for international economists, including more attention to the impact of globalization on commodity price structure, the causes of protection, the impact of world migration on poverty eradication and the role of political participation in the whole process.


Real Wage Trade Policy Trade Liberalization Economic History Mass Migration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  • Jeffrey G. Williamson

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