Globalization: Contents and Discontents

January 15-16, 2019

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


The World Bank Development Research Group based in Kuala Lumpur is organizing its third international conference, with the theme Globalization: Contents and Discontents. The conference aims to bring together policymakers and academics to discuss the consequences of various aspects of globalization including trade, migration, financial flows, cultural exchanges and the diffusion of ideas. 

  • For at least twenty years, scholars have debated the pros and cons of globalization.  Jagdish Bhagwati, Anne Krueger, and others have made compelling arguments in favor of reducing trade and migration barriers to improve economic growth, and to have it more equitably distributed.  The sociologist Saskia Sassen in her 1998 collection of essays Globalization and Its Discontents raised doubts, saying that it resulted in “hyper” mobile capital which has changed the nature of sovereignty and heightened the salience of inequality.  Joseph Stiglitz, in his 2002 book with the same title, critiqued how globalization was managed by international financial institutions and argued for policies that gave greater importance to the interests of individual countries.  The anthropologist Arjun Appadurai has influentially theorized that globalization is a multi-dimensional process that is not just about financial flows and trade but also about cultural flows and the exchange of ideas.  The historian C.A. Bayly borrowed from this perspective to understand how previous waves of globalization led to the Birth of the Modern World.  David Autor and Pinelopi Goldberg are some of the leading representatives of research that employs careful econometric analysis to examine the effects of globalization on macroeconomic conditions, labor markets, and inequality. More recently, Dani Rodrik has reframed the debate as being about “smart globalization” versus “maximum globalization,” an approach that is cognizant of the winners and losers from the powerful forces unleashed by globalization.  

    The goal of this conference is to revisit these and other issues to understand the processes underlying globalization and how they may, or may not, shape a better world.  The conference will be anchored by keynote presentations by noted experts: Shanta Devarajan (Senior Director for Development Economics at the World Bank), William Easterly (Professor of Economics at New York University) and JP Singh (Professor of International Commerce and Policy at Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University). The organizing committee is headed by Norman Loayza and Vijayendra Rao, Lead Economists with the Development Research Group.

  • We welcome empirically grounded research papers by macro and micro-economists, and social scientists from any discipline, that examine the various aspects of globalization (economic, social, political, and cultural), and its consequences. Topics include but are not limited to: Trade, Migration, Financial Flows, Culture, Diffusion of Information, Ideas and Technologies, the History of Globalization, Winners and Losers, Identity and Citizenship, and the Governance of Globalization. 

    All conference costs, including travel, for the presenters of selected papers will be covered. Only completed papers, no longer than 12,000 words, will be considered. The submission deadline is October 15, 2018.

    Submission process is now closed


    January 15, 2019


    Welcome and introductory remarks: TBD

    Keynote speech: Shanta Devarajan (World Bank)

    Session 1: Macroeconomics and Finance
    Luis Serven (World Bank): “Openness, Specialization, and the External Vulnerability of Developing Countries”
    Davide Furceri (IMF): “The Aggregate and Distributional Effects of Financial Globalization: Evidence from Macro and Sectoral Data”

    Session 2: Trade and Welfare
    Bob Rijkers (World Bank): “Trading-off the Income Gains and the Inequality Costs of Trade Policy”
    Julia Seiermann (International Trade Centre): “Only Words? How Power in Trade Agreement Texts Affects International Trade Flows”


    Session 3: Migration and Labor Markets
    Caglar Ozden (World Bank): “Moving for Prosperity - Global Migration and Labor Markets”
    Chris Parsons (University of Western Australia): “Refugees and Foreign Investment: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program”

    Keynote speech: William Easterly (New York University)

    January 16, 2019


    Keynote speech: J.P. Singh (George Mason University)

    Session 5: Social Responsibility and Cultural Identity
    Alice Evans (King's College London): “Hope for Reform: Strengthening Corporate Accountability in Global Supply Chains”
    Hillel Rapoport (Paris School of Economics): “International Migration and Cultural Convergence”
    Michael Woolcock (World Bank): “Documenting Social and Economic Transformation in Myanmar’s Rural Communities: Insights from a Qualitative Household Panel Survey, 2012-2016”


    Session 6: Trade and Innovation
    Thomas Sampson (London School of Economics): “Technology Gaps, Trade, and Income”
    Sina T. Ates (Federal Reserve Board): “Innovation and Trade Policy in A Globalized World”

    Session 7: FDI and Innovation
    Britta Glennon (Carnegie Mellon University): “Knowledge Transfer Abroad: The Role of U.S. Inventors within Global R&D Networks”
    Antoine Mandel (Sorbonne University): “Technology Diffusion and Climate Policy: A Network Approach and its Application to Wind Energy”
    William Ridley (University of Colorado): “International Joint Ventures and Internal vs. External Technology Transfer: Evidence from China”

    Closing remarks: TBD


  • WHEN: Tuesday & Wednesday, January 15-16, 2019; 8:30AM-6:00PM
  • WHERE: Forum, Level 1, Sasana Kijang, No. 2, Jalan Dato’ Onn