When we publish our studies, we usually focus on two or three key results. But they often contain substance for a lot more. So, here is the ultimate list of the most intriguing findings from our publications on trade, innovation, and globalization from the last twelve months that we have NOT highlighted in our communication activities – and what they mean when looking toward 2021!

1. Slovenia is Germany’s equal in per capita gains from WTO membership!

China, the European Union, and the United States are the three largest economic areas in the world. So, it is not surprising that our study “What has the WTO ever done for us? ” shows that they profited the most from being members of the biggest trade club in the world. What is surprising, though, is by HOW MUCH the E.U. holds the top spot: With its $ 223 billion to the United States’ $ 87 billion and China’s $ 86 billion, the race it’s not even close.

Even more surprising is the ranking among E.U. member states in gains per capita. In addition to the usual suspects, Malta, Ireland, and the Benelux, you also find the Baltic states, Slovenia, and Bulgaria in the top echelon.

So, these states have a good reason to be particularly keen on a new push to revitalize the WTO in 2021. Yes, we are talking to you, Slovenia, since you are set to take over the European Council’s presidency for the second half of 2021!



2. Qatar, yes, Qatar, makes bigger FDI deals in Europe than any other nation– BY A LOT!

In our study on the economic effects of foreign-owned firms in Europe, we mostly focused on their quite sizeable effect on jobs and GDP in the E.U. and Germany. Looking at the countries of origin of foreign direct investment (FDI) across Europe, it is no surprise to find major oil-producing countries, such as Qatar, Russia, and Saudi Arabia in the TOP10. Between 2003 and 2017, they have been transferring a considerable amount of their earnings into E.U. countries.

However, with € 268 million, Qatar really stands out when it comes to average deal value. So no fiddling around the edges but broad strokes from the small Gulf emirate. In 2020, one of the Qatari engagements almost yielded its most prestigious return on investment yet:

Paris Saint-Germain, in which Qatar Sports bought a majority share in 2011 and took over the whole club in 2012, eventually made it to the final of the men’s competition of the UEFA Champions League. Can they take it one step further in 2021?

3. A mere ten (out of 193) nations earn a spot on the world-class patent podium!

Unsurprisingly, our study on world-class patents in 58 future technologies found that the lion’s share of the most important and most valuable patents in the world are concentrated in just a handful of countries. The intensity of concentration, however, is mind-boggling. Think of each of the 58 technologies as a competition where the country with the most patents gets a gold medal, the one with the second most gets a silver, and the one with the third at most gets bronze.

Only three countries – the United States, China, and Japan, take home gold medals, with the U.S. tally (50!) dwarfing the rest. Five other countries – Germany, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Canada, and France – make it to silver, but all other countries but Germany (seven) only earn a single one. Finally, only two countries get exactly one bronze medal: Denmark in wind power and India in cloud computing. Let’s hope for a more diverse medal table at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics!

4. There’s room to sway U.S. public opinion on globalization – in both directions!

The question of whether people view globalization as a force for good or bad in the world is at the heart of our globalization survey in 15 developing and emerging countries. When we display the results, we usually focus on the divide between those who have a favorable view and those who have a negative one. Not very surprisingly, we find relatively high levels of approval in emerging economies, while we find more negative views in developed ones, with France and Germany being most critical.

In the illustration below, we re-ordered the results to put the usually overlooked “Don’t know” answers front and center. Here, we see that developed economies see a lot of grey between the usual black and white about globalization: They are uncertain about globalization’s effect, presumably because they are complex and ambiguous. In other words: There is ample room for public debate – most of all in the United States – both a chance and challenge for incoming president Joe Biden.

5. Poland and Hungary are the biggest winners from globalization in Europe!

As we presented the findings of our 2020 globalization report for a total of 45 developed and emerging economies, we mostly focused on absolute gains. We pointed out how much in additional euros residents in each country gained from increasing globalization between 1990 and 2018. By this measure, small, globally integrated economies that already had a high GDP in 1990 came out. In Europe, therefore, Ireland, Switzerland, and Finland lead the field.

However, we can also compare who cumulatively won the most from increasing globalization RELATIVE to its GDP in 1990. In this case, quite unsurprisingly, Eastern European economies move up the ranks thanks to the large catch-up effect after the end of the Cold War. Coincidentally, two countries that will likely continue to make headlines as proponents of extensive national sovereignty, Poland (366%) and Hungary (352%), turn out to be the biggest winners from more global integration.