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It’s a Big World After All

  • Steven Brakman
  • Charles van Marrewijk

Thomas Friedman’s book the world is flat has been a bestseller since it appeared in 2005. The remarkable success of the book reflects to a certain extent the present fears with respect to increasing globalization. Using many examples, Friedman argues that distance (however defined) is no longer a dominant characteristic of the world economy, or will cease to be so in the very near future. Competition is thought to be a race to the bottom, with the lowest-wage countries as the big winners. We disagree, and with us many other economists (see, for example, Leamer, 2006). Distance dominates all aspects of international trade and many stylized facts of international trade can only be understood by pointing towards the importance of distance. Furthermore, there is little evidence of income convergence. Using various methods and data sets, we show that many threats of global competition for the position of the traditionally developed (OECD) countries are unwarranted.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1964.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1964
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  1. Edward E. Leamer, 2007. "A Flat World, a Level Playing Field, a Small World After All, or None of the Above? A Review of Thomas L Friedman's The World is Flat," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(1), pages 83-126, March.
  2. Robert C. Feenstra, . "Integration Of Trade And Disintegration Of Production In The Global Economy," Department of Economics 98-06, California Davis - Department of Economics.
  3. Branko Milanovic, 2006. "Global Income Inequality," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 7(1), pages 131-157, January.
  4. M. G. Quibria, 2005. "Measuring Global Poverty Right," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 6(4), pages 111-121, October.
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