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Kühne Center for Sustainable Globalization

The Kühne Center for Sustainable Globalization is a research center based on a long-term cooperation between the Kühne Foundation and the University of Zurich. It aims to establish itself as a thought leader on issues surrounding economic globalization – by conducting relevant research and making its insights available to a broad audience.

At the core of the center is the Kühne Foundation Professorship of International Trade. It is currently held by Professor Ralph Ossa who is a leading expert on trade policy. His research spans a broad range of questions with an emphasis on the economics of trade wars and trade talks. In addition, the center is home to a number of affiliated researchers.



News and Media

Who will be the new WTO director?

2020-07-10: The current WTO chief, Roberto Azevedo, is quitting more than a year before the end of his term, and a successor is currently being sought. Radio SRF spoke with Ralph Ossa about the candidacy of Swiss-Egyptian dual citizen Hamid Mamdouh for the position. Ossa sees a disadvantage in Mamdouh's lack of political experience.

Listen to SRF Echo der Zeit online (in German)

Global economy strongly affected by coronavirus

2020-03-02: Entire economies in Asia have come to a stillstand. International companies are facing massive disruptions to their value creation processes. From production to delivery, processes are interrupted or even stopped. As a result, companies are forced to announce profit warnings. Stock markets react sensitively to this crisis situation. In Blick online, Prof. Ralph Ossa comments on the corona virus’ effect on the global economy.

Blick online (in German)

The future of global trade: Trade wars, protectionism, globalization

2019-10-19: US President Donald Trump has turned global trade relations upside down. However, globalization was already on a downward path before Trump, as a NZZ article shows. Together with three fellow economists, Ralph Ossa provides answers on the future development of trade policy in an interview with NZZ. 

In the article, Ossa points out the precarious situation of the WTO, which is currently in an existential crisis and can no longer even fulfil its core tasks. Politicians are called upon to reform the WTO as quickly as possible. Asked about the future of the Swiss economy, Ossa stresses the essential importance of trade with Switzerland’s EU neighbors: "That is why it is so important to ensure stable trade relations with the EU or at least to be aware of the enormous costs of a serious disruption," he says.

NZZ Article (in German)

Trade agreements: Criticism should be taken seriously

2019-07-19: In an article for "Die Volkswirtschaft", Ralph Ossa explains the economic damage that would result from the collapse of the multilateral trading system. According to his calculations, in the worst case, 25 percent of trade gains could be destroyed on average – with considerably variation from country to country. Switzerland would also have to reckon with major losses: according to Ossa's calculations, real income in Switzerland would collapse by as much as 14 percent. Ossa sees three main reasons for the reorientation of American trade policy. First, the growing aversion to foreign trade among certain sections of the population, who faced major losses due to trading with China. Secondly, the frustration of US companies over the protection of their intellectual property in China and the state capitalism there, which the WTO can only control to a limited extent. And third, the apparent misperception of the Trump administration that foreign trade is a zero-sum game in which the US either wins or loses. In his article, Ossa elaborates particularly on the second reason and explains why the American-Chinese trade war is not primarily about customs policy, but about securing standards.

Read article on (in German)

Welcome Michael Blanga-Gubbay

Welcome Michael Blanga-Gubbay

2019-07-19: We welcome Michael Blanga-Gubbay as Affiliated Member at the Kühne Center. Michael is a Ph.D. Candidate in Quantitative Economics at the European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) at the Université libre de Bruxelles. He will join the Department of Economics at the University of Zurich as a post-doc in September 2020.

We welcome Emily Blanchard as Visiting Fellow

Emily Blanchard

2019-07-12: Emily Blanchard is an Associate Professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and a Research Fellow with the Center for Economic Policy Research. She will be joining the Kühne Center for Sustainable Globalization as a Visiting Fellow for the academic year 2019/20.
Professor Blanchard's research lies at the intersection of international economics and public policy.  She has written extensively on how foreign investment and global value chains are changing the role of trade agreements in the 21st century, and how globalization and education shape political and economic outcomes within and across countries.  Her research is published in leading journals, including the Review of Economic Studies, Journal of International Economics, the Review of Economics and Statistics, and the World Trade Review, and she serves on several editorial boards.
Bringing research to practice, she has worked in collaboration with the World Trade Organization, World Bank, UNIDO, Institute for Research on Public Policy, and others.

Emily Blanchard's webpage at Dartmouth