12 Dec 2023
Brown Bag Seminar, 16:00 - 17:00, Silva Casa Auditorium, World Trade Institute, Hallerstrasse 6, Bern, Switzerland OR Online

Brown Bag Seminar: "Navigating Protectionism: Unpacking the role of strategic sectors and bilateral dependencies”

Alessia Invernizzi, from the University of Konstanz (Germany), joins us at the WTI for the final Brown Bag of 2023.


While developing countries are continuing to open their markets to trade, historical promoters of free trade are now adopting more protectionist than liberalizing policies. This study analyzes the sectors impacted by these recent trade policy measures and
explores the role of trade dependencies in recent trade policy changes. When are governments using protectionist policies? And, which types? First, I argue that sectors with higher levels of bilateral trade with foreign countries are more likely to receive protectionist support in order to stimulate domestic production and reduce interdependence. Second, I claim that sectors considered strategic or critical by the government are more prone to being targeted by protectionist policies. 

Empirical evidence indicates that China, the US, and India, followed by European countries, Russia, and Brazil, have been the most active users of protectionist trade interventions between 2008 and 2021. Regression results reveal a significant departure from free trade in large economies as governments are found to adopt protectionist measures to support their strategic sectors. These findings pose a challenge to the prevailing understanding and advocacy of free trade as a means of promoting economic growth and interdependence, especially as smaller economies are less active.

About the speaker

Alessia Invernizzi is a PhD student at the Department of Politics and Public Administration as well as the Graduate School of Behavioural Sciences (GSBS) at the University of Konstanz. She has been working as a research assistant at the Chair of International Relations, led by Prof. Dr. Gerald Schneider and is now the recipient of the Heinrich Böll Doctoral Scholarship. Furthermore, she was the managing editor of European Union Politics (EUP) from April 2021 to March 2023. During her doctoral studies, she has been a visiting student at Princeton University and Tel-Aviv University.

Her main research and teaching interests are International Political Economy, Trade policy, Industrial policy, Sanctions, International Organizations and quantitative methods. Between October and March 2020, Alessia was a trainee at the European Commission in DG Trade (Chief Economist unit) where she supported research projects on trade analysis and evaluations, for example on the changes in trade after the EU withdrawal of preferential tariffs for Cambodia due to human right concerns. After completing her Bachelor's degree in Economics and Business at the University of Milan-Bicocca (2017), she obtained her Master's degree in Political Economy from the University of Konstanz (2019). During her studies, she focused on European integration, international law, international political economy and trade.

We strongly encourage you to attend this event on-site. In case you cannot be present in person, you can use the following Zoom link to tune in virtually: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEqcu-ppzspHtTcKZc-_onFkvyl3DNJnA9O 

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