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Risks and global supply chains: what we know and what we need to know

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  • Baldwin, Richard

    (The Graduate Institute, Geneva)

  • Freeman, Rebecca

    (Bank of England)

Abstract

Recent supply disruptions catapulted the issue of risk in global supply chains (GSCs) to the top of policy agendas and created the impression that shortages would have been less severe if GSCs were either shorter and more domestic, or more diversified. But is this right? We start our answer by reviewing studies that look at risks to and from GSCs, and how GSCs have recovered from past shocks. We then look at whether GSCs are too risky – starting with business research on how firms approach the cost-resiliency trade-off. We propose the risk-versus-reward framework from portfolio theory as a good way to evaluate whether anti-risk policy is justified. We then discuss how exposures to foreign shocks are measured and argue that exposure is higher than direct indicators imply. Finally, we consider the future of GSCs in light of current policy proposals and advancing technology before pointing to the rich menu of topics for future research on the risk-GSC nexus.

Suggested Citation

  • Baldwin, Richard & Freeman, Rebecca, 2021. "Risks and global supply chains: what we know and what we need to know," Bank of England working papers 942, Bank of England.
  • Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:0942
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    2. Stefano Costa & Stefano De Santis & Giovanni Dosi & Roberto Monducci & Angelica Sbardella & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2021. "Firm responses to the pandemic crisis: sticky capabilites and widespread restructuring," LEM Papers Series 2021/48, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    3. Geoffrey Ditta, 2022. "Cross Borders Companies and Worldwide Industry Management. Past, present, and future for businesses at time of slowbalization," Academicus International Scientific Journal, Entrepreneurship Training Center Albania, issue 26, pages 78-92, July.
    4. Giuseppe Celi & Dario Guarascio & Jelena Reljic & Annamaria Simonazzi & Francesco Zezza, 2022. "The Asymmetric Impact of War: Resilience, Vulnerability and Implications for EU Policy," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 57(3), pages 141-147, May.
    5. Efrem Castelnuovo, 2022. "Uncertainty Before and During COVID-19: A Survey," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0279, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
    6. Anderson, Kym, 2022. "Trade-related food policies in a more volatile climate and trade environment," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 109(C).
    7. Zuzana Zavarská, 2022. "Global Value Chains in the Post-pandemic World: How can the Western Balkans Foster the Potential of Nearshoring?," wiiw Policy Notes 58, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    8. Reiner, Christian & Grumiller, Jan & Grohs, Hannes, 2022. "Lieferengpässe in Österreich? Globale Warenketten von Medizinprodukten während der COVID-19 Pandemie," Working Papers 69, Austrian Foundation for Development Research (ÖFSE).
    9. Hongyi Chen & Peter Tillmann, 2022. "Lockdown Spillovers," MAGKS Papers on Economics 202215, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    10. Federico Riccio & Lorenzo Cresti & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2022. "The labour share along global value chains. Perspectives and evidence from sectoral interdependence," LEM Papers Series 2022/11, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    11. Chris Muris & Horst Raff & Nicolas Schmitt & Frank Stähler, 2023. "Inventory, Sourcing, and the Effects of Trade Costs: Theory and Empirical Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 10253, CESifo.
    12. Goodhart, Charles, 2022. "Ben S. Bernanke: 21st century monetary policy: the federal reserve from the great inflation to COVID-19. W.W. Norton & Company, 2022," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 115779, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk; resilience; supply chains; global value chains; input reliance; globalization;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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