Deglobalization: The rise of disembedded unilateralism

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There is some evidence of deglobalization in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. The economic data are mixed and indicate a stall, but not a collapse, of globalization. Cross-border financial flows have been reduced, but the overall outcome mostly reflects changes in European banking. Trade is not growing as quickly as before the crisis, but that may be the consequence of technology shortening supply chains. There are more protectionist measures, but they have not radically cut trade. But political deglobalization has advanced much further, and consequently, there is the prospect of more intense conflicts over trade and financial regulation in the future, as well as one of an increasing backlash against migration. Globalization depends on a complex system of regulating cross-border flows and on embedding domestic rules in an international order. The political momentum is directed against the existing methods or regulation and against the complex rules that had been established to manage globalization. The promise given by populist myth builders is that eliminating international entanglements can make life simpler, less regulated, and above all, less subject to the dictates of an administrative class. Modern economic nationalism or unilateralism can be understood as a reversal of the process of embedding and may thus be termed "disembedded unilateralism."

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-237
Number of pages19
JournalAnnual Review of Financial Economics
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


  • financial integration
  • globalization
  • Great Depression
  • migration
  • trade policy


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