Professor Mary E. Lovely delivers lecture to BSE Master's students

Dr Lovely at Barcelona School of Economics

Professor Lovely delivers lecture on Building More Resilient Supply Chains to Master's students in ITFD and Macro programs 

On February 21, a lecture was organized by the US Consulate General, where Professor Mary E. Lovely (Anthony M. Solomon Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, DC) was invited to the Barcelona School of Economics as a guest lecturer to speak directly to the Master’s students in the International Trade, Finance, and Development Program and the Macroeconomic Policy and Financial Markets Program. 

Professor Lovely’s current research projects investigate the effect of China's foreign direct investment policies on trade flows and entry mode, strategic reform of US tariffs on China, and recent movements in global supply chains. 

Exploring the key factors driving governments and companies to build more resilient supply chains

In her lecture to BSE students, Professor Lovely explored some of the key factors driving governments and companies to seek more resilient supply chains. She provided an overview of the Biden Administration’s efforts to alter American sourcing with reshoring, friendshoring, and de-risking tools, including the new turn towards industrial policy and more restrictive trade measures. She also discussed how Biden’s approach compares to alternative proposals seeking to raise US tariffs to levels not seen since the 1920s and the implications of this changing policy environment for US trading partners.

BSE student María Sara Flores, who is currently studying in the International Trade, Finance, and Development Master's program, summarized some important learnings from the lecture:

"Professor Lovely addressed three big questions surrounding the topic of building more resilient supply chains:

1. What is a supply chain?

2. What does it mean to have a resilient supply chain?

3. How does living in an interconnected world impose challenges on government officials?

Professor Lovely explained that global supply chains are complex manufacturing networks that move goods and services between countries. Knowing who the suppliers are, what kind of labor is employed, and what the environmental impact is, are important considerations. She pointed out that manufacturing also includes the human work behind goods and services including the developers, coders, and economists."

Global supply chains are both valuable and vulnerable

"Supply chains can help to form relationships between traders and as a result, help developing countries access global markets. However, these relationships can also generate vulnerabilities such as economic security and domestic disruptions. How can we improve or reduce vulnerabilities? The answer is by making sure countries still gain from the value they have provided. Insurance is costly so cooperation between countries is the best way for countries to protect themselves from the risks of a supply chain disruption from natural shocks."

"Policymakers must prioritize certain risks and pay close attention to factors such as the inability to self-insure in critical sectors; address the climate crisis, and reduce over-dependence on other economies, for example concentrating one sector in one seller is risky. A country's desire to decouple from China, for example, is almost impossible to do. The gains from trade come when countries collaborate, so building pillars and agreements is key. COVID was a warning sign that countries can be wiped from the global grid with the domestic and international disruptions it posed, climate change has also become one of the main threats for international trade and should be kept in mind when building policies and agreements."

Flores also commented that she has been "interested in Professor Lovely's research for a while, so having the opportunity to meet her in person and ask her questions directly was a privilege. It was also nice to hear her explain how the topics we study in the Master's program are applied to the real world." 

Learn more about BSE Master's programs

International Trade, Finance, and Development Master's Program

Macroeconomic Policy and Financial Markets Master's Program