Place in the Next Phase of Globalization

Session organisers:
  • Sami Mahroum (Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (ULB) SMIT and Free University of Brussels (VUB), Belgium)
  • Alicia Garcia Herrero (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, China)

A lot of the discussion around globalization in the past three decades has been seen through the lens of global value chains in manufacturing and physical products despite the fact that an increasing part of global trade is in services, especially, digital services. Thus when the covid-19 pandemic hit the world economy slowing down the physical mobility of both goods and people, many feared the end of globalization. But with the rapid shift to digital trade and interface, another form of non-physical globalization has emerged. In this new form of globalization, economic agents trade across border with little actual physical mobility involved. The exchanges take place over digital platforms where arguably the location of the participants is significant only to the extent that their locations enjoy an affordable, fast and reliable access to digital technology. This raises the question of the importance of place in the next phase of globalization where cross-globe exchanges require less physical flows. The question of place is not only a question of globalization, but a question about the importance of cities, cities size, as well as small country vs big country conditions. For example, the pandemic has forced shift of many economic activities from cities to the periphery and has accelerated the pace of moving products to people rather than people to products. This trend is likely to continue as knowledge sharing is no longer as dependent on physical proximity. In the proposed session, we want to invite papers and presentations that address the following topics:

  • Cities and agglomeration in the post-covid era
  • Digital trade and the new forms of globalization
  • The international mobility of talent and digital nomads
  • Digital nomad entrepreneurs and the periphery


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