NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Why are the Critics so Convinced that Globalization is Bad for the Poor?

Emma Aisbett

NBER Working Paper No. 11066
Issued in January 2005
NBER Program(s):   ITI

Proponents of globalization often conclude that its critics are ignorant or self-motivated. In doing so, they have missed a valuable opportunity to discover both how best to communicate the benefits of globalization, and how to improve on the current model of globalization. This paper examines the values, beliefs and facts that lead critics to the view that globalization is bad for the poor. We find that critics of globalization tend to be concerned about non-monetary as well as monetary dimensions of poverty, and more concerned about the total number of poor than the incidence of poverty. In regard to inequality, critics tend to refer more to changes in absolute inequality, and income polarization, rather than the inequality measures preferred by economists. It is particularly important to them that no group of poor people is made worse off by globalization. Finally, we argue that the perceived concentration of political and economic power that accompanies globalization causes many people to presume that globalization is bad for the poor, and the continued ambiguities in the empirical findings mean that this presumption can be readily supported with evidence.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11066

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