Globalization has brought both major benefits and significant problems. The liberalization and integration into the global economic system of previously semi-autarkic economies have created beneficial economies of scale, spurred innovation, and lifted tens of millions of people out of abject poverty. Yet, the global economy has become less stable as uncertainty has increased and new, powerful states have emerged, global private actors have grown in importance, and flows of goods, capital, and labor have increased. The global economy has also become less equitable and sustainable as income and wealth distributions have widened, and issues such as climate change, trade policies, and design of international institutions have gained in importance. The financial crisis of 2008, with its long-term economic repercussions, has increased the recognition that without adequate global economic governance there is a greater possibility of major crises and a tendency toward protectionism and political upheaval. There is, therefore, a clear need for new theories, empirical studies, and policy initiatives that cut across nation-state boundaries and address the new reality.

The creation of the Center on Global Economy and Governance (CGEG) recognizes the fact that there is a growing awareness of these issues, but also a lack of agreement on how to tackle them. This provides a unique opportunity for CGEG – a center that generates pioneering ideas and disseminates them effectively in the policy arena will make an important economic and social contribution. The goal for CGEG is hence to become a premier Center for producing a new wave of policy-oriented research on global economic governance, stress excellence and recognition, and achieve visibility and impact. In doing so, CGEG will bring critical issues into sharp focus, set the highest academic standards in research, and bring together key players from the academic, policy, and business world.

The proposed approach is to combine internal and external talent. In particular, CGEG will involve and provide a stimulating environment for SIPA (Columbia) faculty and students, and engage leading external academics, policy makers, and business leaders. The Center will organize high-profile events, think out-of-the-box in design and implementation, and use success to generate its future endowment. The priority that CGEG receives from the Dean of SIPA, as well as the Provost and President of the University, is obviously key to its success.

Jan Svejnar, Director