Working paper

Knowledge spillovers and geopolitical challenges in global supply chains

Our main message is that policies restricting knowledge flows should be limited to narrowly defined areas of strategic importance.

Publishing date
29 February 2024

This paper explores the role of knowledge spillovers through global supply chains against the backdrop of increasing geopolitical tensions and protectionist policies. The research, part of the ReThinkGSC project, underscores the importance of the international research and development ecosystem in fostering innovation. This ecosystem provides benefits to all countries involved and is essential for tackling global challenges. However, we highlight the growing threats to knowledge dissemination posed by policies aimed at preserving national security and leading technological positions. These measures, intended to safeguard strategic interests, risk fragmenting supply chains and stifling global innovation if they are applied on a broad basis. We recommend that restrictions on knowledge flows be limited to narrowly defined strategic areas and that countries adopt strategies to enhance internal knowledge dissemination, diversify supply chains and foster international economic ties. We emphasise the need for careful policy design, avoiding broad protectionist measures, and suggests bolstering R&D through public grants and tax incentives, and by promoting private-public partnerships. 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 101061123.

Disclaimer: Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Executive Agency (REA), the granting authority. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

About the authors

  • Niclas Poitiers

    Niclas Poitiers, a German citizen, joined Bruegel as a research fellow in September 2019.

    Niclas' research interests include international trade, international macroeconomics and the digital economy.  He is working on topics on e-commerce in trade as well as European trade policy in global trade wars. Furthermore he is interested in topics on income inequality and welfare state policies.

    He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Universitat de Barcelona, a M.Sc. in economics from the Universität Bonn, and a B.Sc. from Universität Mannheim. During his Ph.D. he was a visiting scholar at Northwestern University.

    Niclas is fluent in English, Spanish, and German.

  • Kamil Sekut

    Kamil works at Bruegel as a Research analyst. He studied Economics (BSc) at University of Warsaw with a semester exchange at Utrecht University. He pursued MSc in Economics at KU Leuven, where he specialized in labour issues, development economics and applied econometrics.

    Before coming to Bruegel, Kamil worked as a Research assistant at the Group for Research in Applied Economics, a non-governmental research centre based in Warsaw where he worked on several projects in labour economics.  He also finished a summer internship at the Polish Ministry of Finance, where he analysed differences in wage trajectories of parents after childbirth. 

    His MSc thesis defended at KU Leuven investigated the impact of occupational skill mismatch on job satisfaction and mental health of workers. 

    Kamil is also interested in long-term growth, political economy, and innovation policy.  He speaks English fluently and is a native speaker of Polish. 

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