Teaching activity

Globalisation and the spread of knowledge

Penny Brooks

25th April 2018

There is a fantastic piece for Economics students by Martin Wolf in today's FT - if you haven't already registered for FT for Schools, it is worth doing so now (you can find the link here).

Under the title 'Let knowledge spread around the world', the article looks at dissemination of knowledge and innovation as a driver of globalisation, and therefore of growth and development, particularly in developing economies. Therefore it touches on many of the topics studied in the A level Global Economy syllabus. It draws on the IMF's latest Global Economic Outlook (video of the press briefing to launch that report here), and includes some superb data analysing the source and number of patents being filed in different countries, the links to productivity and also the contribution of both foreign and domestic Research and Development to productivity growth. 

I won't try to summarise the article, because you should read it, but I will quote just a short passage from it which I hope will show why it is so useful:

"Meanwhile, emerging economies are benefiting from applying already developed ideas within their own economies. That is how the diffusion of economic growth has worked since the industrial revolution (indeed, before). Globalisation, it appears, has accelerated the rate of diffusion by lowering the obstacles. This has occurred via foreign direct investment and via the unbundling of production via global value chains." 

This article also lends itself very well to helping students prepare for the synoptic papers in their A levels this summer. First list the micro and macro topics which you can find in the article (if you are familiar with the Tutor2u POPSICLE and DIGESTIF mnemonics, they will help), then try questions such as "Evaluate the microeconomic and macroeconomic effects of a fall in the number of patents being registered" or "With reference to the text and data, evaluate the microeconomic and macroeconomic effects of greater 'global diffusion of knowledge'."

Penny Brooks

Formerly Head of Business and Economics and now Economics teacher, Business and Economics blogger and presenter for Tutor2u, and private tutor

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