WIDER Annual Lecture 6 - Winners and Losers in Two Centuries of Globalization

Professor Jeffrey Williamson of Harvard University accepted the invitation to deliver the 2002 Annual Lecture entitled ‘Winners and Losers in Two Centuries of Globalization’. It took place at the University of Copenhagen on 5 September 2002.
WIDER Annual Lecture 6

The world has seen two globalization booms over the past two centuries, and one bust. The first global century ended with World War I and the second started at the end of World War II, while the years in between were ones of anti-global backlash. This lecture 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 lecture 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.

Professor Jeffrey Williamson

Jeffrey Williamson is the Laird Bell Professor  of  Economics and  Faculty Fellow at the Center for International Development at Harvard University. He is also Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Born a New Englander in 1935, Professor Williamson received his PhD from Stanford University in 1961. He then taught at the University of Wisconsin for twenty years before joining the Harvard faculty in 1983. The author of more than twenty scholarly books and almost two hundred articles on economic history, international economics and economic development, Professor Williamson has served as President of the Economic History  Association  (1994-5),  Chairman of the Economics Department at Harvard (1997-2000), and Master of Mather House at  Harvard  (1986-93).  His  most  recent books include The Age of Mass Migration (Oxford 1998, with T. Hatton), Growth, Inequality, and Globalization (Mattioli Lectures: Cambridge 1998, with P. Aghion), Globalization and History (MIT 1999, with K. O’Rourke) and Globalization in Historical Perspective (Chicago and NBER 2002, with M.D. Bordo and A.M. Taylor). He is currently doing research on world migration issues and on the globalization agenda  dealing  with  the  Third  World  raised  by  W.  Arthur  Lewis  and  other development giants decades ago, including deindustrialization and reindustrialization. 

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Annual Lecture
Winners and Losers in Two Centuries of Globalization

Jeffrey Williamson is renowned as both an exemplary teacher and an outstanding scholar of economic history...

Emigration and immigration Equality and inequality International trade