Nottingham Centre for Research on
Globalisation and Economic Policy (GEP)

Globalisation and Labour Markets

Programme Coordinator: Dr Richard Upward 

The labour market affects the daily lives and the social welfare of almost everybody. Understanding how globalisation affects outcomes like earnings and employment is therefore of great importance and interest to economists, social scientists and the population at large.


Many people's view of globalisation is far more pessimistic than that of professional economists. Workers fear the loss of jobs and the downward pressure on wages from foreign imports, outsourcing and immigration. In contrast, economists stress the benefits of greater choice, cheaper goods and productivity growth. The Globalisation and Labour Markets programme (GLM) is motivated by this dichotomy.

The aim of the programme is to understand better the effect of globalisation on patterns of employment and wages. The programme combines both theoretical and empirical methods to examine both the impact of globalisation on labour markets, and the effects of workers' behaviour on patterns of globalisation, for example via human capital investment and migration.

Recent research topics

1. Migration (Albornoz-Crespo, Bougheas, Facchini, Song, PhD students)

  • How well do migrants perform and assimilate into their new host country? How do they find employment, set up new businesses?
  • What determines the policies which governments adopt towards migration?
  • What determined natives’ attitudes to migrants?
  • Do immigrants facilitate international trade and offshoring?

2.  Wage inequality (Bonfatti, Impullitti, Riaño)

  • How does trade liberalisation, technical change and offshoring affect wages? Do these processes lead to a larger gap in wages between high- and low-skilled workers
  • Why might globalisation lead to increasing wage inequality in both developed and less-developed countries?

3.  Multinational firms (Girma, Upward)

  • How do firms' responses to the pressures of globalisation affect their workers in terms of employment and wages?
  • How do cross-border investment and the decisions of multinational firms affect job security?

4. Worker and job turnover (Tatsiramos, Upward)

  • What happens to workers who lose their jobs? Are they able to find new jobs quickly, or does job loss cause long periods of unemployment and falls in wages? How does the flexibility of the labour market affect this process?
  • How do firms adjust their workforce? Does a firm which faces a sudden demand shock lay-off workers, or does it simply delay hiring? How do labour market institutions, such as employment protection legislation, affect the decision of firms?

Internal GLM research fellows working in this area

  • Facundo Albornoz Crespo: Migration and education
  • Marta Aloi: Globalisation and trade unions
  • Roberto Bonfatti: Wage inequality and globalisation
  • Spiros Bougheas: Political economy of migration and trade; skilled worker migration
  • Jake Bradley:  Employment and wage differentials; public sector wage policies
  • Giovanni Facchini: Migration: political economy of migration; attitudes towards migration; assimilation.
  • Sourafel Girma: Firm-level responses to globalisation: employment and impacts on workers
  • Giammario Impullitti: Technical change, wage inequality
  • Cher Li:  human capital and productivity; entrepreneurship
  • Alejandro Riaño: How trade liberalization and offshoring affect labor market outcomes, such as wage inequality and informality in developing countries
  • Lina Song: Social security and well-being; income distribution and poverty alleviation; unemployment and labour markets; gender and intra-household allocation; rural-urban migration;
  • Richard Upward: Worker displacement and re-employment; job and worker turnover in OECD countries; multinational firms and employment; foreign workers and export behaviour

PhD students

  • Bjoern Brey: Migration policy in the US
  • David Contreras Gómez: Grading policies and educational outcomes
  • Gabriele Lucchetti: International and national migration
  • Martina Magli: Local labour market effects of offshoring
  • Feicheng Wang (Ningbo):  Globalisation and labour markets in China


Nottingham Centre for Research on Globalisation and Economic Policy

Sir Clive Granger Building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD