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Richard Baldwin

Richard E. Baldwin is a professor of international economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.[1][2][3] He is also President of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) since 2016 and Editor-in-Chief of VoxEU, which he founded in June 2007.[4][5] He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he has been researching globalization and trade for the past 30 years.[6] He was twice elected as a Member of the Council of the European Economic Association.

Articles by Richard Baldwin

Vox’s annual holiday break

December 24, 2021

The year 2021 was not a happy one for the world. It was a year that may come to be remembered for its disappointments. Disappointment on climate change actions, disappointment that the pandemic was not ending after all, and disappointment that geostrategic tensions and populism were not fading. The Covid recession was fading, but inflation was picking up in the US and UK.
For Team Vox, by contrast, it was another bumper year. During 2021, we had (according to Google Analytics definitions) 
4.9 million users, and
9.6 million page views.
Vox readers, it seems, look for research-based policy analysis and commentary in trying times. In terms of monthly figures, the top month was March 2021, with 1 million views and 568,000 users. The worst month was July, when the corresponding

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Holiday message from Team Vox

December 25, 2020

Holiday message from Team Vox

Richard Baldwin 25 December 2020

Following our usual tradition, takes a break between Christmas and the New Year  – our final column of 2020 will be on Thursday 24 December and our first column of 2021 will appear on Saturday 2 January.

Following our usual tradition, takes a break between Christmas and the New Year  – our final column of 2020 will be on Thursday 24 December and our first column of 2021 will appear on Saturday 2 January.
The VoxEU team wish all of our readers a healthful and restful holiday break.

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Covid, hysteresis, and the future of work

May 29, 2020

Things have changed so much with Covid-19 that not even the future is what it used to be – or so it seems from all the predictions that analysts are making about the post-Covid world. But why should things change permanently? Things are the way they are for good reasons. If the reasons don’t change permanently, the outcomes won’t change permanently. 
Actually, it is more complicated than that. Some socio-economic-political outcomes are governed by what might be called ‘rubber-band dynamics’, others by ‘paper-clip dynamics.’ 
•          When you shock a rubber band – say, pull on it – the shape deforms, but the shape returns when you stop pulling. Temporary shocks have temporary effects.
Most economic phenomena are like this – the standard supply-and-demand mechanism, for

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VoxEU readership in the COVID-19 crisis

May 7, 2020

Thanks to the contributions of literally hundreds of policy-relevant economists from around the world, has become a key global hub of research-based analysis of COVID-19 economic issues since early March 2020. This column presents some of the statistics and early milestones. For instance, it shows that in April 2020, had 1.6 million page views from 767,000 users. 

Having pivoted to a focus on COVID-19-related research in early March 2020, readership has risen about 2.5 times compared to last year. As Figure 1 shows, in the last week of April 2020 the number of users was 189,000, compared to 71,000 for the same period in 2019. The number of page views in the same week was 354,000 (compared to 127,000 in 2109). The monthly figures

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The Greater Trade Collapse of 2020

April 7, 2020

The Greater Trade Collapse of 2020: Learnings from the 2008-09 Great Trade Collapse
The future is unknowable, but also inevitable. This conundrum – we must think ahead, but we can’t be certain about our thinking – leads us to shy away from it. By training and temperament, we are more comfortable with historical data and time-honoured models. That won’t work this time.  
COVID-19 is changing the world faster than most expected and in ways few anticipated. The US’s “Pandemic Influenza Plan: 2017 Update” covers all manner of medical issues, and even legal issues, but the word ‘economic’ appears only five times in the 53 pages. The 2005 “National Strategy for pandemic influenza” mentions it six times in 17 pages – almost always in the context of something vague like

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Testing for testing times

March 26, 2020

COVID-19 testing for testing times: Fostering economic recovery and preparing for the second wave
There is light at the end of the COVID Crisis tunnel. We will get a vaccine against this new coronavirus in 12-18 months, the scientists assure us. Then we can fight COVID-19 without wrecking our economy; we can use mass vaccination in lieu of mass lockdowns. 
But for the moment, extreme containment policies are all we in the West have to calm calamity at the hospitals and reduce the necessity of witnessing unnecessary deaths. Things are different in parts of Asia. Having learned lessons from the SARS pandemic, several nations were fast to start testing massively – allowing them to isolate the sick from the healthy rather than everybody from everybody. That is no

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The supply side matters: Guns versus butter, COVID-style

March 22, 2020

COVID-19 is a textbook epidemic, so far.1 In country after country, it follows the classic ‘epi curve’ (short for epidemiological curve) of disease transmission (Figure 1).2 Europe and the US are still in their accelerating phase; China has worked its way to the resolution phase (subsequent waves are possible). 
Figure 1 Phases of the classic epidemiological (‘epi’) curve

The recession is a public health measure
While only a fraction of new cases require hospitalisation, the daily admissions can overload hospital capacity. This is happening today in Italy and Spain; it happened massively in Wuhan. America will likely suffer the same, according to a Harvard study published this

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Inequality and pandemic make an explosive mix

March 15, 2020

On 11 March, Marc Lipsitch, Professor of Epidemiology and Head of the Centre for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, told us how worried he was about the future: “The situation we should be worrying about is the situation four weeks from now, not the situation now.”1 
The source of this concern was not the few thousand cases of COVID-19 reported in the US at that date. American testing has been slow due, in part, to early fumbles by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Fink and Baker 2020). That means, Lipsitch argues, that the true extent of the disease in the US is unknown:
"Scientists, Lipsitch noted, guess that the true number of cases is somewhere between ‘tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands’."
This, alone, is a

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How should we think about containing the COVID-19 economic crisis?

March 13, 2020

Economic medicine for a medical shock: How should we think about containing the COVID-19 economic crisis?
The COVID-19 economic crisis is not like previous ones. It has hit the economic giants all at once – the G7 nations and China. And the economic strikes are widely spread, hitting many sectors all at once. It is not a credit crisis, or a banking crisis, or a sudden-stop crisis, or an exchange crisis. Today’s crisis is a bit of all these. Given the transient nature of the underlying medical shock, this column argues that governments should focus on ‘keeping the lights on’. They should ensure the circular flow of money continues so as to reduce the persistence of the crisis and avoid the unnecessary accumulation of ‘economic scar tissue’.

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It’s not exponential: An economist’s view of the epidemiological curve

March 12, 2020

The spread of COVID-19 is not going to follow an exponential curve – and grave errors will follow if analysts believe it will. The number of new cases rises rapidly, peaks, and then declines. It’s called the epidemiological curve. It’s not a theory or hypothesis; it plays out that way every flu season. It is how it has played out in China and Korea for COVID-19. Flattening the peak to avoid overloading the healthcare system is the main medical goal of the seemingly extreme containment policies we have seen to date.

Have you seen the zombie movie “World War Z” with Brad Pitt? One zombie makes two, who make four, who – well, this quickly gets out of hand. In a flash, a supermarket full of humans becomes a raging mass of slavering zombies in Hollywood’s finest

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Holiday message from Team Vox

December 24, 2019

Team Vox wishes to thank all its readers and contributors for making 2019 another great year for the site. Vox will post no new columns between 24 December 2019 and 2 January 2020. 

Following our usual tradition, takes a break between Christmas and the New Year  – our final column of 2019 will be on Tuesday 24 December and our first column of 2020 will appear on Thursday 2 January.
Happy holidays from all the VoxEU team.

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Holiday break message from Team Vox

December 24, 2018

Following our usual tradition, takes a break between Christmas and the New Year. Our final column of 2018 will be on 24 December and our first column of 2019 will appear on 2 January.
For your holiday amusement, I’ve put together a list of greatest hits from 2018 blended in with some of my personal favourites. They are arranged by month.  The most popular Vox column among readers was “The missing profits of nations” by Thomas Tørsløv, Ludvig Wier and Gabriel Zucman. Posted in July, it had garnered over 60,000 views as of mid-December 2018. The column presents evidence that the global average tax on corporations fell by half—much of it due to profit shifting to tax havens. 
How to reconcile risk sharing and market discipline in the euro areaBénassy-Quéré,

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A new eBook: Brexit Beckons

November 27, 2018

Editor’s note: This column was first published on 1 August 2016.
The 23 June 2016 Brexit vote saw British voters reject membership in the European Union. This column introduces a new VoxEU eBook that presents 19 essays written by leading economists on a wide array of topics and from a broad range of perspectives.
Download – Brexit Beckons: Thinking ahead by leading economists
Before turning to a quick review of the chapters, it is instructive to deconstruct the Brexit vote. 
UK citizens were asked, “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” This was a multiple choice test, and the possible answers were: “Remain a member of the European Union” or “Leave the European Union”.
About 72% of eligible voters cast a ballot. 52% of

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Sources of the WTO’s woes: Decision-making’s impossible trinity

October 17, 2018

The WTO is in a funk – unable to conclude the Doha Round even as its members liberalise unilaterally and regionally. This column, first published in June 2010, introduces a Policy Insight arguing that the tactics used to conclude the last round pushed the organisation into decision-making’s “impossible trinity” (consensus, uniform rules, and strict enforcement). The Doha Round may succeed – defeating the triangle with the ‘big package’ tactic – but this tactic does not work fast enough to allow the WTO to confront 21st century challenges in a timely manner. At least one of the impossible triangle’s corners will have to be modified.

Editor’s Note: The US blocking of appointments to the WTO’s Dispute Settle Appellate Body has brought WTO reform to the front

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New at VoxEU: The Blogs&Reviews page

May 28, 2018

VoxEU has today launched a new feature – the Blogs&Reviews page – which will gather blogs posts and book reviews from leading economists from around the world. The page starts with a dozen or so well-established bloggers who are reposting their blogs on the new page. The idea is to raise the profile and boost the dissemination of these blogs, and to eventually attract a wider range of economists to contribute to the public debate in this more informal format. We also post book reviews. 

I founded in June 2007 with the aim of enriching the economic policy debate in Europe and beyond. On the supply side, the idea was to make it easier for serious researchers to contribute to the public debate. On the demand side, the idea was to make the knowledge of

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Vox is ten years old this month

June 30, 2017

Vox is ten years old this month. A few facts to celebrate the anniversary:
We’ve published over 5,800 columns by almost 6,200 authors since June 2007.
We get between 150,000 and 200,000 distinct visitors per month, who together view between 400,000 and 500,000 columns per month.
The US has the biggest readership – accounting for about a quarter – followed by the UK and the big EU nations; India is now the 7th biggest source of readers.
The most popular Vox column by far is “A tale of two depressions” by Barry Eichengreen and Kevin O’Rourke; the column, which compared the Great Depression to the Great Recession, has been viewed over a million times!
Seventeen Nobel Prize winners have authored Vox columns: Robert Lucas, Jr., Robert C. Merton, James Heckman, George Akerlof, Michael

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Introducing a new Vox series: CEPR Flashbacks: Insights from past reports

March 30, 2017

The first CEPR Flashback: Flexible Integration: Towards a More Effective and Democratic Europe
This column introduces a new series – CEPR Flashbacks – which highlights past CEPR reports that are relevant to today’s challenges. In many cases, the analysis is highly pertinent to today’s policy questions, while in others the reports provide useful context on how leading thinkers approached similar problems in the past. The first CEPR Flashback highlights a 1995 report, “Flexible Integration”, which suggested a solution to the problem that EU leaders are tackling in their current reflection on the Future of Europe.

Editor’s Note: This is the first “CEPR Flashback” – a new series of short Vox columns that highlight the current relevance of past CEPR reports. Since 1983, CEPR reports have often been ahead of the curve in anticipating and analysing problems in Europe and beyond. Looking back, it is clear that much of the analysis is still relevant and indeed helps put today’s challenges into context. This first Flashback’concerns the topic that EU leaders broached at the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome – the Future of Europe.
The institutional challenges facing Europe
On 1 March 2017, the European Commission initiated a debate on the future shape of Europe with its “White Paper on the Future of Europe”.

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Holiday message from Team Vox and a few reading suggestions

December 24, 2016

Team Vox wishes to thanks all its readers and contributors for making 2016 a great year for the site. Vox will post no new columns between 25 December 2016 and 2 January 2017. There is, however, plenty to catch up on. This column presents a list of topical columns written by leading economists in 2016.

Following our usual tradition, takes a break between Christmas and the New Year  – our final column of 2016 will be on Saturday 24 December and our first column of 2017 will appear on Monday 2 January.
Meanwhile, for those of you looking for reading material over the Christmas break, here is a short list of very notable columns on issues that played havoc with us all in 2016.
Happy holidays from all the VoxEU team.

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