International Economy


Increased international trade, and the lowering of barriers to such trade, frequently results in improved international relations, but it can also lead to trade wars and tariff disputes. RAND research explores bilateral and multilateral economic relations; describes how they affect global alliances, globalization, and the economic health of nations; and recommends methods to develop, encourage, and maintain these relations among diverse nations and cultures.

  • A man walking in the financial district of Pudong in downtown Shanghai, photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters


    The U.S.-China Crossover

    Mar 20, 2015

    According to the IMF, the U.S. and Chinese GDPs in 2015 are $18.4 trillion and $11.1 trillion, respectively. Current and impending conditions in both economies suggest that the estimates of when China will surpass the U.S. are likely premature, and by a substantial margin.

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani arrives to attend the closing statement for the Asian-African Conference in Jakarta April 23, 2015, photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters


    Who Benefits from Iran Sanctions Relief?

    Jul 2, 2015

    More than $100 billion of Iranian oil proceeds are “frozen” in foreign bank accounts under the current sanctions regime. The repatriation of Iran's money would no doubt boost a flagging economy.

Explore International Economic Relations

  • A money changer displays U.S. and Iranian banknotes at the Grand Bazaar in central Tehran, October 7, 2015


    Unlocking Iran's Economy

    While Rouhani and his team want Iran's gradual opening, reactionary forces aligned with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, much of the security establishment, and the clergy are likely to stand guard against “anti-revolutionary” tendencies and policies.

    Nov 2, 2015

  • People shopping at the electronic market outside The SEG Plaza, a skyscraper named after the Shenzhen Electronics Group, in Shenzhen, China, February 1, 2015


    How Do China's Philosophies Shape Its Policies?

    Outwardly, China is promoting a “new type of great power relations” between itself and the U.S., and a “community of shared interests” within Asia. Inwardly, it is guided by the “Chinese Dream,” a vision for increased prosperity, greater social stability, and a higher quality of life for its people.

    Oct 20, 2015

  • Staff raise Pakistan's flag in front of the Great Hall of the People ahead of a welcome ceremony for Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Beijing, July 5, 2013


    Pakistan and China's Almost Alliance

    Policymakers in the United States and throughout Asia should take note of why the Sino-Pakistani relationship has endured for so long, what each partner gets from the other, and what inherent limitations prevent the union from developing into a true alliance.

    Oct 16, 2015

  • Woman using a digital tablet with an elderly man


    Bridging the Global Age Gap

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership offers hope for balancing the world's rapidly aging with its jobless youth. As long-term care for the elderly becomes a pressing need in many developed countries, services such as monitoring and reminding people to take their medications could be provided remotely from countries with an abundance of younger workers.

    Oct 8, 2015

  • Investors watch stock information at a brokerage house in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, August 25, 2015


    China's Currency

    Much of the worry in the United States and elsewhere about China's currency “manipulation” is overblown because a less restricted yuan would more likely be overvalued than undervalued, thereby adversely affecting Chinese trade and exports.

    Sep 28, 2015

  • Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (C) at the first meeting of the new cabinet in the parliament building in Athens, Greece September 25, 2015


    The Greek Tragedy's Next Act Unfolds

    On regaining the mantle of prime minister, Tsipras should expect little, if any, honeymoon from the Greek electorate, as he faces not just the implementation of austerity measures demanded by the International Monetary Fund and the EU: He must also cope with Greece's part of a European migration crisis of historic proportions.

    Sep 27, 2015

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Boeing in Everett, Washington, September 23, 2015


    The U.S.-China Summit Is More Significant for Xi Jinping Than Obama

    The Xi-Obama summit will provide the opportunity to discuss contentious issues like cybersecurity and the South China Sea, as well as other issues, such as climate change and economic cooperation. For Xi, the visit underscores the tremendous importance of messaging to a Chinese audience the narrative of a continued stable and robust partnership with the country that matters most to China politically and economically.

    Sep 24, 2015

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Liyuan arrive at Paine Field in Everett, Washington, September 22, 2015


    Xi's Visit Exposes Mismatch in U.S and Chinese Expectations

    Chinese President Xi Jinping's U.S. visit this week appears to face serious headwinds. Contrasting U.S. and Chinese priorities will likely lead to disappointment on both sides.

    Sep 23, 2015

  • Rigging equipment is pictured in a field outside of Sweetwater, Texas, June 4, 2015


    Why Selling Oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Is a Bad Idea

    Some lawmakers are proposing a sell-off of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to finance highway and bridge work. This is a shortsighted strategy.

    Sep 15, 2015

  • U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) addresses a rally against the Iran nuclear deal at the U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC, September 9, 2015


    Congress Should Monitor Iran Deal, Not Keep Trying to Kill It

    If Iranian compliance with the nuclear accord is Congress's goal, then legislators should focus on ensuring that the deal is effectively implemented.

    Sep 12, 2015

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies before a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the Iran nuclear agreement in Washington, July 28, 2015


    The Only Iran Deal Alternative Worth Considering

    Now is the time for Washington to prove its leadership and implement the Iran nuclear deal. The alternative is a major diplomatic defeat for America and an unrestricted Iranian nuclear program.

    Aug 30, 2015

  • Iran flag above Tehran skyline


    A Better Deal for Iran

    It is critical for lawmakers to understand there will be serious consequences for rejecting the Iran deal. And those consequences look a lot worse for the United States and its partners than for Iran.

    Aug 24, 2015

  • The three main members of the Eurasian Economic Union, Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin, meet in Astana March 20, 2015


    Eurasia Facing Tough Choices for the Future

    There is much to be said for Eurasia's rich ethnic, national, religious, and cultural diversity. In the economic sphere, however, Eurasians should reassess bad habits, such as weak property rights, centralized state control, and associated corruption.

    Aug 13, 2015

  • Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and China's President Xi Jinping meet at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, June 11, 2015


    Aung San Suu Kyi's Trip to China: Sino-Myanmar Relations as the Countdown to the November Elections Begins

    For Aung San Suu Kyi and the rest of the National League for Democracy (NLD) delegation, meeting with Chinese leadership provided a forum for bilateral engagement with one of Myanmar's most important neighbors in the region, relations that will expand given the NLD's likely success at the polls in November.

    Aug 10, 2015

  • Protesters wave Armenian national flags during a rally against a hike in electricity prices in Yerevan, Armenia July 1, 2015


    It's Time to Reboot Our Relationship with Russia and Iran's Neighbors

    In implementing the prospective Iran nuclear agreement, the West cannot forget its engagement in the vulnerable South Caucasus. The Iran deal changes the equation for all three countries and perhaps opens new opportunities.

    Jul 28, 2015

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the Asian African Conference in Jakarta, April 22, 2015


    Post Deal, Can Rouhani Deliver on Promises of Reform?

    Rouhani was elected president because he offered hope; he claimed that the nuclear agreement would be the key to unlock or solve Iran's problems. But it will take more than that to make Iran a better place to live. Can he achieve his people's dreams? Is he even willing?

    Jul 24, 2015

  • A poster of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, and others behind Iranian, Syrian, Lebanese, and Hezbollah flags during Resistance and Liberation Day celebrations in Bint Jbeil, Lebanon, May 25, 2014


    Global Terror Network Will Get a Boost from Iran Nuclear Deal

    Iranian sponsorship of terrorist organizations cannot be divorced from the negotiations because the sanctions that will be lifted provide new sources of funding to reinforce the Iran threat network. A global strategy to address the Iran threat network is essential to stability in the region.

    Jul 15, 2015

  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif waves after a plenary session at the UN building, Vienna, July 14, 2015


    The Iran Nuclear Deal: RAND Experts Answer Questions About the Days Ahead

    Diplomats have reached a nuclear agreement with Iran. Now, the United States faces important policy decisions that will help shape the days ahead and the relationship that emerges between Iran and the other parties involved.

    Jul 14, 2015

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in front of Palais Coburg, the venue for the Iran nuclear talks, Vienna, Austria, July 5, 2015


    Here's What Will Happen If the Iran Deal Falls Through

    Even a strong nonproliferation agreement that prevents all pathways toward the Iranian bomb won't magically transform the Middle East. But on balance, the region would be better off with a good nuclear deal than without one.

    Jul 7, 2015

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani arrives to attend the closing statement for the Asian-African Conference in Jakarta April 23, 2015


    Who Benefits from Iran Sanctions Relief?

    More than $100 billion of Iranian oil proceeds are “frozen” in foreign bank accounts under the current sanctions regime. The repatriation of Iran's money would no doubt boost a flagging economy.

    Jul 2, 2015

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