Mapping Globalization: Convergence and Divergence of Global Trends

Globalization, as one of the defining megatrends in recent history, touches the lives of billions of individuals every day, takes substantial impact on the economic prospects of firms, and on the social fabric of nations. Measures for globalization, however, focus on flows of investment and trade that ignores socio-political aspects of globalization.

Harald Puhr

Conceptually, research considers globalization as the internationalization of socio-economic activity through trade and investment. Public skepticism and political populism that drive de-globalization, however, can be seen as socio-political change that leads to socio-economic decoupling. Individuals fear rising inequality, endangered identity, and eroding influence due to globalization. Consequently, de-globalization, unlike globalization, is a predominantly social phenomenon with economic outcomes. However, existing empirical approaches to globalization, cross-national distance, and their evolution rely mostly on macro-level indicators, such as flows of investment and trade, that do not capture the social dynamics that underlie de-globalization. The absence of micro-level measures for these constructs thus remains an obstacle for research on the future directions of globalization.

In my research project, I map globalization as the cross-national convergence or divergence of global trends. I employ big data sources such as data from Google Trends, Twitter, and media, that allow capturing a micro-level perspective on these trends. Thereby, my research project contributes to a better understanding of the micro-dimensions of globalization and its evolution through de-globalization. In addition, my project works to develop measures of globalization beyond economic flows and institutional convergence. Thus, it provides a broader and more nuanced perspective to the research on globalization.


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