In our globalized economy, expanding the size of the market not only means more customers, it also means more competition for U.S. consumers’ dollars, a greater variety of products and services, increased access to intermediate goods, and more opportunities for supply chain collaboration, innovation, and so on. When trade barriers come down, the factory floor can span borders and oceans, enabling production to be organized in new and more efficient formats, leading to more value creation and greater wealth.

Globalization means that companies have growing options with respect to where and how they produce. So governments must compete for investment and talent, which both tend to flow to jurisdictions where the rule of law is clear and abided; where the business and political climate is stable; where the specter of asset expropriation is negligible; where physical and administrative infrastructure is in good shape; where the local work force is productive; and where there are limited physical, political, and administrative frictions.

To ensure continued progress, our globally integrated economy requires policies that are welcoming of imports and foreign investment and that minimize regulations or administrative frictions based on some vague or ill-defined “national interest.” Policies that reduce barriers throughout the supply chain-from product or service conception to consumption-should be embraced.

On this page you will find Cato’s work on cross-border investment, transnational supply and value chains, and global interdependence.

More on Globalization, Value Chains, FDI


Tony Blair Is Right — Globalisation Is a Fact Not a Choice

By Ryan Bourne. UK Telegraph. March 1, 2019.

The Economic Bedrock of Foreign Direct Investment

By Daniel J. Ikenson. October 17, 2018.

How Innovation Drives Financial Inclusion

By Diego Zuluaga. CapX. June 27, 2018.

Cato Studies

Responsible Stakeholders: Why the United States Should Welcome China’s Economic Leadership

By Colin Grabow. Policy Analysis No. 821. October 3, 2017.

Misperceiving Inequality

By Vladimir Gimpelson and Daniel Treisman. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 32. August 12, 2015.

Retail Globalization and Household Welfare: Evidence from Mexico

By David Atkin, Benjamin Faber, and Marco Gonzalez-Navarro. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 30. July 15, 2015.


Safeguarding Policy Space in Investment Agreements

Simon Lester and Bryan Mercurio. IIEL Issue Brief. December 2017.

GDP and its Enemies: the Questionable Search for a Happiness Index

Johan Norberg. Centre for European Studies: Policy Brief. September 2010.

The Debt Threat: A Risk to U.S.-China Relations?

James A. Dorn. Brown Journal of World Affairs. Vol. 14. No. 2. 2008.

Public Filings

Made in America: Increasing Jobs through Exports and Trade

By Daniel J. Ikenson. Testimony. March 16, 2011.

Opening the World of Export Opportunity to U.S. Small Businesses

By Daniel Griswold. Testimony. June 19, 2008.

The Large Stake of U.S. Small Business in an Expanding Global Economy

By Daniel Griswold. Testimony. June 13, 2007.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Would the TPP Advance Free Trade? A Scorecard

Policy Report. November/December 2016.

Trade on Trial, Again

Daniel J. Ikenson. Policy Report. May/June 2016.

Defending Sweatshops

Pierre Lemieux. Regulation. Summer 2015.


Don’t Worry, Be Happy: The Cato Institute’s HumanProgress Project

Featuring Marian L. Tupy and Chelsea Follett. June 1, 2016. Capitol Hill Briefing.

India Awakes

Featuring Johan Norberg and Ian Vásquez. August 14, 2015. Policy Forum.

The Logic of the Market: An Insider’s View of Chinese Economic Reform

Featuring Xia Yeliang and James A. Dorn. January 22, 2015. Book Forum.


Downsizing the Federal Government

Ending the Import-Export Bank

By Sallie James. October 2012.