The Great Convergence: Information technology and the New Globalization by Richard Baldwin

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Richard Baldwin is the author of The Great Convergence: Information technology and the New Globalization, an Economics book published in November 2016. He is Professor of International Economics at the Graduate Institute, Geneva, and President of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), London. Get more information about the author and his book(s) with the short biography hereafter.

Richard Baldwin is Editor-in-Chief of the economic policy portal, which he founded in June 2007.

He first earned a BA in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a MSc in economics from LSE. Then he wrote his PhD at MIT under the guidance of Paul Krugman, with whom he has co-author a half dozen articles. He also has honorary doctorates from the Turku School of Economics and Business in Finland (2005), the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland (2012), and the Pontifica Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP), in Peru (2014).

Before coming to Geneva, where he is Professor of International Economics at the Graduate Institute, he was a Senior Staff Economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisors in the Bush (the Elder) Administration (1990-1991) following trade negotiations such as the Uruguay Round, NAFTA and numerous US-Japan trade disputes.

He has been a visiting professor at Oxford (2012-2015) and MIT (2002-2003 & 1998-1999), having started his academic career as a professor at the Columbia School of Business in New York. He was Vice Chair of the Academic Advisory Committee of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington (2008-2012), and an Elected Member on the Council of the European Economic Association, (1999-2004, 2006-2011).

The author of numerous books and articles, his research interests include international trade, globalisation, regionalism, and European integration.

Richard Baldwin‘s latest book, The Great Convergence: Information technology and the New Globalisation, was published by Harvard University Press in November 2016. He provides advice and consultancy for numerous governments and international organisations on international trade issues.


Between 1820 and 1990, the share of world income going to today’s wealthy nations soared from twenty percent to almost seventy. Since then, that share has plummeted to where it was in 1900. As Richard Baldwin explains, this reversal of fortune reflects a new age of globalization that is drastically different from the old.

In the 1800s, globalization leaped forward when steam power and international peace lowered the costs of moving goods across borders. This triggered a self-fueling cycle of industrial agglomeration and growth that propelled today’s rich nations to dominance. That was the Great Divergence. The new globalization is driven by information technology, which has radically reduced the cost of moving ideas across borders. This has made it practical for multinational firms to move labor-intensive work to developing nations. But to keep the whole manufacturing process in sync, the firms also shipped their marketing, managerial, and technical know-how abroad along with the offshored jobs. The new possibility of combining high tech with low wages propelled the rapid industrialization of a handful of developing nations, the simultaneous deindustrialization of developed nations, and a commodity supercycle that is only now petering out. The result is today’s Great Convergence.

Because globalization is now driven by fast-paced technological change and the fragmentation of production, its impact is more sudden, more selective, more unpredictable, and more uncontrollable. As The Great Convergence shows, the new globalization presents rich and developing nations alike with unprecedented policy challenges in their efforts to maintain reliable growth and social cohesion.





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