Working paper

Resisting deglobalisation: the case of Europe

Trade and finance expanded in Europe after the financial crisis, while public support for globalisation is on the rise, supported by low unemployment.

Publishing date
04 February 2020
Zsolt Darvas

Global trade and finance data indicates that the pre-2008 pace of economic globalisation has stalled or even reversed. The European Union has defied this trend, with trade flows and financial claims continuing to grow after the recovery from the 2008 global economic and financial crisis. Immigration, including intra-EU mobility, has also continued to increase. Our analysis of public opinion in EU countries shows that support for globalisation, free trade and immigration, is on the rise. EU public opinion on these issues does not differ greatly from the rest of the world.

Our panel-model estimates for EU countries from 2009 to 2019 find a strong association between the unemployment rate and the prevailing view on whether globalisation is an opportunity for economic growth. A regression for 19 non-EU countries shows the unemployment rate is significantly associated with public support for trade. These findings suggest that cyclical economic factors partially drive views about globalisation. Our analysis suggests younger and better-educated people in the EU view globalisation more positively, as do those in better economic situations, those who feel politically included and those with a positive view of the EU. Increased support for globalisation among EU citizens might also have been boosted by policies to improve social fairness, and by some success in containing asylum-seeker pressure. However, the EU continues to have pressing social problems, concentrated in some member countries with weaker economic outlooks. With global and European economic growth slowing and the risk of a European recession increasing, unemployment tensions could re-emerge, which might reverse recent increases in support for globalisation.


Recommended citation

Darvas, Z. (2020) ‘Resisting deglobalisation: the case of Europe’, Working Paper 01/2020, Bruegel

About the authors

  • Zsolt Darvas

    Zsolt Darvas is a Senior Fellow at Bruegel and part-time Senior Research Fellow at the Corvinus University of Budapest. He joined Bruegel in 2008 as a Visiting Fellow, and became a Research Fellow in 2009 and a Senior Fellow in 2013.

    From 2005 to 2008, he was the Research Advisor of the Argenta Financial Research Group in Budapest. Before that, he worked at the research unit of the Central Bank of Hungary (1994-2005) where he served as Deputy Head.

    Zsolt holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Corvinus University of Budapest where he teaches courses in Econometrics but also at other institutions since 1994. His research interests include macroeconomics, international economics, central banking and time series analysis.

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