Impact of Globalization on Opportunities for Human Development

To what extent can globalized economies offer increased opportunities to their populations in different socio-economic domains?

Project Summary

The literature on globalization and its impact is vast and growing and has highlighted both the positive effects and possible risks. While the pro-globalization camp emphasizes the economic gains from the deployment of factors on external markets, anti-globalization advocates consider those economic elements that have either fallen out or suffered from the process of globalization. However, most studies on globalization use outcome-based data and measure ex-post situations i.e. income per capita, employment, etc.

There are few studies that analyze whether increased openness has resulted in people having easier access to various socio-economic opportunities that could, in turn, enhance their human development potential. According to the capability approach, human development is defined as the enhancement of the choices that people have to lead the life they have reason to value and these choices cover a wide range of dimensions including economic, social, political, cultural, environmental and other dimensions. Although, according to economic theory, total welfare should increase when countries open out, the gains and losses generated in the process for different countries and groups have not yet been fully understood. The picture is even less clear when one looks at the impact on the quality of life which includes both economic and noneconomic aspects.

The project would like to examine the missing area of investigation in the link between globalization and human development by looking at whether globalized economies are able to offer increased opportunities to their populations in different socio-economic domains and the quality of such opportunities.

Academic Output

Working Paper

An empirical investigation of the relationship between globalisation and three human development dimensions: employment, education and health

The objective of the project is to analyse the impact of globalisation on opportunities for human development. Three key dimensions of human development are considered in our study – employment, education and health. The idea is to take a multidimensional view of well-being as well as adopt a broad definition of globalisation. Our results present a mixed picture regarding the overall impact of globalisation on the chosen human development dimensions. Employment seems to suffer from economic globalisation whereas it could ultimately benefit from the other types of globalisation (social and political). In general, education seems to react positively, especially to social and political openness. Health is more likely to be negatively affected by globalisation. A few strong messages emerge from our study. First and foremost, one cannot affirm that globalisation is either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ as the overall impact is not uniform across dimensions. Governments need to anticipate a possible negative consequence on employment and put in place policies that will help absorb the labour laid off as a result. As education seems to benefit from openness, and since education influences employment positively, a government can enhance well-being in both the dimensions (and possibly others) by investing in the educational system.

Working Paper

An Analysis on Economic Opportunity

Economic opportunity can serves as another factor in growth and development. This paper identifies the extensity and intensity channels through which economic opportunity are created. Data on 24 variables for 184 world economies for the period 2000-2010 are collected for the empirical analysis. The methodology involves the use of principle component analysis in constructing three indices for the parametric and non-parametric regression analysis. In addition to the aggregate analysis, economies are divided into OECD and non-OECD economies so as to examine their different performance in economic opportunity. Extensity seems to be the more important channel to all economies, but for non-OECD economies, higher performance in intensity can enrich the effect of extensity on economic opportunity.

Working Paper

Seeking Social Capital in World Values Survey

In this article, by taking into account the conditions which paved the way for the use social capital as an analytical instrument in policy formulation, we examine the methodological challenges that need to be overcome in order to operationalize social capital idea so as to generate some indicators which may be useful in comparative scrutiny of various conditions and policies not only between advanced capitalist but also developing countries. In order to reveal the difficulties involved in such an operationalization attempt vividly, and to provide indicators that may be widely utilized, we use four rounds of world values survey that in total covers almost hundred countries. Analyzing this rich data set, which allows us to seek social capital indicators for developing and advanced countries simultaneously, also enables us to question whether social capital is a sufficiently encompassing concept, that is, whether it is capable of capturing similar features of diverse sets of societies.

Working Paper

The objective of the project is to analyse the impact of globalisation on opportunities for human development. Three key dimensions of human development are considered in our study – employment, education and health. The idea is to take a multidimensional view of well-being as well as adopt a broad definition of globalisation. Our results present a mixed picture regarding the overall impact of globalisation on the chosen human development dimensions. Employment seems to suffer from economic globalisation whereas it could ultimately benefit from the other types of globalisation (social and political). In general, education seems to react positively, especially to social and political openness. Health is more likely to be negatively affected by globalisation. A few strong messages emerge from our study. First, one cannot affirm that globalisation is either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ as the overall impact is not uniform across dimensions. Governments need to anticipate a possible negative consequence on employment and put in place policies that will help absorb the labour laid off as a result of opening out. As education seems to benefit from openness, and since education influences employment positively, a government can enhance well-being in both the dimensions (and others) by investing in the educational system.

Research Team

Jaya Krishnakumar
Coordinator
University of Geneva

Kui-Wai Li
Co-Coordinator
City University of Hong Kong

Lucio Baccaro
Co-Coordinator
University of Lausanne

Elena Sarti
Principal Member
University of Geneva

Status

completed

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