Inter-country distancing, globalisation and the coronavirus pandemic

Klaus F. Zimmermann*, Gokhan Karabulut, Mehmet Huseyin Bilgin, Asli Cansin Doker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Originating in China, the coronavirus has reached the world at different speeds and levels of strength. This paper provides an initial understanding of some driving factors and their consequences. Since transmission requires people, the human factor behind globalisation is essential. Globalisation, a major force behind global well-being and equality, is highly associated with this factor. The analysis investigates the impact globalisation has on the speed of initial transmission to a country and on the scale of initial infections in the context of other driving factors. Our cross-country analysis finds that measures of globalisation are positively related to the spread of the virus, both in speed and in scale. However, the study also finds that globalised countries are better equipped to keep fatality rates low. The conclusion is not to reduce globalisation to avoid pandemics, but to better monitor the human factor at the outbreak and mobilise collaboration forces to curtail diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1484-1498
Number of pages15
JournalThe World Economy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • globalisation
  • inter-country distancing
  • pandemic

Cite this