Clausen Center

Our Mission

The mission of the Clausen Center is to promote path-breaking scholarly research, enhance teaching in the area of international economics and finance, and contribute to the policy dialogue on these issues. Through its research initiatives, the Clausen Center will engage in continued dialogue with policy makers and pursue work that is rigorous, insightful, and firmly anchored in reality. Photo: Darrell Sano

Reading Group
Macro/Growth/International Reading Group
Clausen Center Conference-Moments Captured
Department of Economics International Trade and Finance Seminar

Inaugural Conference


Led by Professor Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, the Clausen Center for International Business and Policy launched its first Conference on Global Macroeconomic Issues on November 21, 2015. The conference brought together outstanding academics from Berkeley and other universities, policy makers from the US, Europe and Asia, and leading private sector executives to examine todays’ pressing monetary and financial problems. The full-day conference was structured around three themes: US Monetary Policy and its Global Impact; The (Un) Changing Nature of Financial Crises and their Aftermath, and; The Evolution of the International Financial System. Academic presentations included those by Barry Eichengreen, Hélène Rey, Annette Vissing-Jorgensen and David Romer. Among policy makers, Maurice Obstfeld from the IMF discussed the interconnected nature of the post-financial crisis world; the ECB board member Benoît Coeuré called for a re-thinking of key assumptions underlying growth, exchange rates and capital flows; and San Francisco Fed President John Williams suggested that global central banks consider new stimulus tools to deal with what may be permanently lower interest rates worldwide. These views were widely covered by the press and actively discussed at the conference, which included private market participants from PIMCO, BlackRock and others.



The academic work of the Clausen Center is organized around four initiatives.

The first initiative, Financial Globalization, seeks to gain a better understanding of the complex and rapidly changing international financial landscape. As economies become more financially inter-twinned, researchers are reassessing the effectiveness of traditional macroeconomic policies, the cross-border spillover effects of macroeconomic and financial policies, and the desirability of coordinating policies internationally.

The second initiative, International Financial Architecture, explores issues associated with currency wars and the role of the US dollar as a reserve currency, the evolving nature of financial fragilities in advanced and developing nations, the regulation and supervision of financial institutions and markets, and the role of international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund in dealing with sovereign and external crises.

The third initiative on International Trade and Development seeks to understand the connection between economic integration and economic development. Economic integration with the rest of the world has been a central feature of rapid-growth experiences in the last decades, but many countries have not reaped the expected benefits. This initiative explores the conditions under which more open trade and investment policies promote development to better guide welfare-increasing policies.

The final initiative, International Business Education, supports the practice of international business and policy through executive education, and it stimulates academic dialogue by bringing business leaders and policy makers to the classroom. This initiative recognizes that business is shaped by international trade, foreign direct investment, cross-border portfolio flows, migration, and policies on intellectual property, regulations, and taxes. Executive education training on these issues enhances the ability of professionals working in the private and public sectors to make sound evaluations and decisions about global economic challenges.

Recent Working Papers

In Corporate Resilience to Banking Crises, (April 2016) Ross Levine, Chen Lin, Wensi Xie ask whether firms are more resilient to systemic banking crises in economies with higher levels of social trust. Using firm-level data in 34 countries from 1990 through 2011, they find that liquidity-dependent firms in high-trust countries obtain more trade credit and suffer smaller drops in profits and employment during banking crises than similar firms in low-trust economies. The results are consistent with the view that when banking crises block the normal banking-lending channel, greater social trust facilitates access to informal finance, cushioning the effects of these crises on corporate profits and employment.

In Tourism and Economic Development: Evidence from Mexico's Coastline (June 2016), Ben Faber and Cecile Gaubert investigate the long-run economic consequences of tourism, which is one of the most visible and fastest growing facets of globalization in developing countries. Their paper combines a rich collection of Mexican microdata with a quantitative spatial equilibrium model and a new empirical strategy. They begin by estimating a number of reduced-form effects on local economic outcomes in today's cross-section of Mexican municipalities. To base these estimates on plausibly exogenous variation in long-term tourism exposure, they exploit geological and oceanographic variation in beach quality along the Mexican coastline to construct instrumental variables. To guide the estimation of the aggregate implications of tourism, they write down a spatial equilibrium model of trade in goods and tourism services, and use the reduced-form moments to inform its calibration for counterfactual analysis. They find that tourism causes large and significant local economic gains relative to less touristic regions, and that these gains are in part driven by significant positive spillovers on manufacturing production. In the aggregate, however, they find that these local spillovers are largely offset by reductions in agglomeration economies among less touristic regions, so that the national gains from tourism are mainly driven by a classical market integration effect.