Measuring the World Economy


  • Harald Badinger

    1. Department of Economics, Institute for International Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU), Althanstrasse 39-45, A-1090 Vienna, Austria, and Austrian Institute of Economics Research (WIFO), Arsenal, Objekt 20, A-1030 Vienna
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This article provides an empirical assessment of whether the world economy has become smaller in terms of economic distance over the last decades. We adopt a cross-sectional spatial econometric approach, relating domestic output volatility to (distance-weighted averages of) other countries’ output volatility, using a sample of 135 countries and rolling 10-year time windows over the period from 1955 to 2006. Using descriptive measures, test statistics and spatial econometric estimates, we find that cross-country interdependence was virtually insignificant in the early post-war period but has increased strongly from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s and remained at a high level since then. Results for the most recent period suggest that common shocks to output volatility have a magnified impact and roughly quadruplicate through international spillover effects, which are transmitted through both trade and financial openness.