International Economic Relations

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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 consignment of USAID medical equipment is offloaded at the Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, August 24, 2014, photo by James Giahyue/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why We 'Send Them Money'

    Dec 30, 2020

    Why does the United States send foreign countries American taxpayer money? The answer, in short, is because it serves U.S. self-interest to do so. Aid is not some act of charity at the American taxpayers' expense; it can help keep Americans safer, more prosperous, and secure.

  • L-R: Bahrain Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the Abraham Accords signing ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C., September 15, 2020, photo by Gripas Yuri/ABACA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Abraham Accords Offer Historic Opportunity to Spur Mideast Growth

    Mar 25, 2021

    The Abraham Accords have heralded a dramatic shift in the relationship between Israel and the Muslim nations of the world. While these accords represent a major political breakthrough, they also represent a possible new chapter in the region's development: away from conflict and toward a shared economic vision of prosperity.

Explore International Economic Relations

  • Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Dominic Raab, holds documents ahead of a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, July 19, 2018

    Commentary

    We Asked the British Public What Kind of Brexit They Want—and a Norway-Like Deal Is the Clear Winner

    The Brexit referendum outcome reveals very little about what people actually wanted. But a RAND Europe study of what people value about the EU finds that their priorities map most squarely onto a Norway-style model for future relations between the UK and the EU.

    Oct 11, 2018

  • United Kingdom and European union flags combined, Big Ben and Parliament house

    Journal Article

    Support for EEA-Style Brexit Has Increased

    Support for a Brexit deal based on membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) has increased. EEA membership is now supported by 43 per cent of Britons, up from 38 per cent in 2017, making it the most popular Brexit option.

    Oct 10, 2018

  • Report

    Report

    What sort of Brexit do the British people want? A longitudinal study examining the "trade-offs" people would be willing to make in reaching a Brexit deal — technical addendum

    A study using stated preference discrete choice experiments to quantify the British people's preferences for their relationship with the European Union after Brexit.

    Oct 10, 2018

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on September 4, 2018

    Commentary

    What Does China's Pursuit of a Global Coalition Mean for World Politics?

    As disputes between Beijing and Washington over trade and other issues intensify, analysts have highlighted domestic factors as reasons why President Xi Jinping may resist compromise. However, China's pursuit of a greater international leadership role likely plays an overlooked, but increasingly important role.

    Oct 8, 2018

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Impact of Trade Liberalization on Productivity: Evidence from India's Formal and Informal Manufacturing Sectors

    This paper was first to consider the effects of India's tariff liberalization on the entire manufacturing industry, both small, informal firms and large, formal firms. The overall effect of the trade reforms is increased productivity in both sectors.

    Sep 19, 2018

  • Paper boats with flags of China, Japan, and the United States on a map of East Asia

    Commentary

    The Implications of U.S.-China Trade Tensions for Japan

    Washington and Beijing seem prepared to begin decoupling from one another economically, which puts Tokyo in a difficult position. Japan may have to devise new strategies not only for sustaining its growth, but also for insulating itself from the impact of deteriorating relations between the United States and China.

    Sep 18, 2018

  • International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde speaks at a Belt and Road conference in Beijing, China, April 12, 2018

    Commentary

    The Global Order Will Outlast U.S. Leadership

    Even if America bails on the international order there is plenty of evidence that Europe, China, Japan, and the rest of the developed world will maintain existing multilateral structures and build new ones. The order will survive but may become less liberal, less democratic, and perhaps less peaceful.

    Aug 23, 2018

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks during an interview with Fox News after a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018

    Commentary

    Walking a Fine Line on Russian Sanctions

    The United States and its allies are increasingly frustrated over malign activities by Russia. This week the U.S. unveiled new sanctions, and is expected to impose even more in the future. But choosing sanctions requires care. Their purpose should be to penalize Russia for misbehavior, but not to isolate Russians.

    Aug 22, 2018

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    China Belt and Road Initiative: How revival of the silk road could impact world trade

    By using both qualitative and quantitative analysis, this study found improving transportation multimodal connectivity has a positive impact on multilateral trade across countries and regions along China Belt and Road Initiative.

    Aug 21, 2018

  • Report

    Report

    China Belt and Road Initiative: Measuring the impact of improving transportation connectivity on trade in the region

    Using both qualitative and quantitative analysis, this study found improving transportation multimodal connectivity has a positive impact on multilateral trade across countries and regions along China Belt and Road Initiative.

    Aug 21, 2018

  • Members of the United Nations Security Council during a meeting at the U.N. headquarters in New York, April 14, 2018

    Commentary

    The Roots—and Purpose—of the Post-War Order

    As the world enters an era of greater international competition, U.S. policymakers should take care not to underestimate the importance of the postwar system. The order is far from a myth; it is the United States' most important competitive advantage.

    Aug 7, 2018

  • U.S. President Trump arrives to announce his decision to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement in the Diplomatic Room of the White House, May 8, 2018

    Commentary

    Bringing Back Sanctions Will Hurt U.S. Allies and Iran, but Will It Help America?

    What happens if leaving the Iran nuclear deal and applying “maximum pressure” doesn't lead Iran to change its behavior or the regime to collapse? The Trump administration may find that it's much easier to break a deal than to replace it with something better.

    Aug 7, 2018

  • The U.S. Navy destroyer USS John S. McCain conducts a patrol in the South China Sea, January 22, 2017

    Commentary

    The Security Risks of a Trade War with China

    As U.S.-China trade tensions continue to rise, many observers are focused on the potential for a full-fledged trade war that could destabilize the world economy. But there are security concerns as well. A China less constrained by and invested in economic ties with the United States could pose a greater challenge to U.S. foreign policy.

    Aug 6, 2018

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi talk as they visit the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan, China, April 27, 2018

    Commentary

    Is India the Weakest Link in the Quad?

    India's sustained membership in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue would fit with the goal of balancing against China to deter it from further militarizing the Indo-Pacific. But New Dehli may be getting cold feet.

    Jul 23, 2018

  • Shipping containers at a port in Shanghai, China, July 10, 2018

    Commentary

    The U.S.-China Trade War: Different Messages

    The trade war between the United States and China began with the notification of tariffs on $34 billion of traded goods on each side. Officials on both sides of the Pacific are using different messages to convey the dispute. What are the real impacts likely to be?

    Jul 20, 2018

  • The Christophe de Margerie (R), an ice-class tanker fitted out to transport liquefied natural gas, is docked in Arctic port of Sabetta, Yamalo-Nenets district, Russia March 30, 2017

    Commentary

    Cooperation in the Arctic Likely to Continue—For Now

    Risks for serious tensions in the Arctic during the 2020s are likely to be overstated. Key players in the Arctic appear likely to continue working together to enhance the economic potential of the region and resolve conflicts before they emerge, as opportunities in the Arctic continue to grow.

    Jul 12, 2018

  • U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin during their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017

    Commentary

    Trump and Putin Should Start Small at Helsinki Summit

    Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will hold their first formal summit on July 16. Their agenda will likely include the main sources of strain in relations, but they might find it easier to make concrete progress if they start with lower-profile issues as Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan did at their first summit.

    Jul 2, 2018

  • Turkish and Israeli flags fly atop the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 26, 2016

    Report

    Israeli-Turkish Ties Face Formidable Challenges

    Israel and Turkey have mutual economic interests, such as trade, tourism, and energy. The two countries have usually been able to separate these interests from their political differences, but current relations remain contentious. Israel and Turkey differ on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the future of Syria.

    Jun 27, 2018

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks as China's new Politburo Standing Committee members meet with the press at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 25, 2017

    Commentary

    Book Review: Elizabeth Economy's The Third Revolution

    The United States' attitude towards China is undergoing a significant recalibration, perhaps the most fundamental since Beijing's crackdown at Tiananmen Square almost three decades ago. Harnessing its resurgence while tempering its revisionism will likely be Washington's most vexing long-term policy challenge.

    Jun 26, 2018

  • World flags

    Commentary

    The Need for Superpowers to Embrace a Vision of World Affairs

    A superpower promotes a conception of world affairs that attracts others, enabling it to advance its objectives and amplify its values far more than it could on its own. Washington has a significant edge over Beijing in this regard.

    Jun 21, 2018