Digital Technologies and Globalization: A Survey of Research and Policy Applications



Maggie Chen and Christian Volpe Martincus | Inter-American Development Bank

In recent years, the world has witnessed the rise of multiple specific digital technologies, including online trade platforms, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing, cloud computing, blockchain, and financial technology (fintech). These digital technologies are fundamentally transforming the ways that firms and individuals — as both workers and consumers — communicate, search, trade, and invest. They are also substantially changing how governments design and implement trade and investment policies and programs and, in so doing, how they interact with firms, individuals, and each other. This paper reviews the growing empirical literature on the trade, investment, and broader development effects of the adoption of specific digital technologies. It also describes the policy applications of these technologies and discusses the incipient empirical literature on the impacts thereof. Based on this review, it identifies several open questions and avenues of future research that may be useful for deepening our understanding of digital technologies and their policy implications.


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