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Article
Publication date: 19 December 2018

Karl Grindal

This research develops a framework for assessing international trade regimes which could be used to address global cybersecurity challenges based on the corresponding…

Abstract

Purpose

This research develops a framework for assessing international trade regimes which could be used to address global cybersecurity challenges based on the corresponding costs of implementation and their distribution. Trade regimes, such as export controls, tariffs, investment restrictions and localization requirements, have disparate effects on foreign and domestic producers and consumers.

Design/methodology/approach

These trade regimes and their effects are explored through a literature review and conceptual framework. A case study then assesses trends in the use of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

Findings

CFIUS investment restrictions have justified blocking specific Chinese acquisitions of American companies, at least partially, on cybersecurity grounds using a targeted and evidence-based approach. Because of its targeted effect, CFIUS is the least likely of these trade regimes to block legitimate international trade. Restrictions on international trade, without sufficient cause, produce dead weight loss under the theory of comparative advantage.

Originality/value

These costs should be accounted for in any policy-based decision, particularly as policy entrepreneurs increasingly push for embedding cybersecurity reforms into these trade regimes. While the literature on trade regimes and cybersecurity is growing, this paper advances this research with its comparative framework.

Details

Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-5038

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 19 December 2018

Milton Mueller and Karl Grindal

This paper aims to analyze the direction and balance of transnational information flows and look at how nonpriced digital information exchanges related to international…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyze the direction and balance of transnational information flows and look at how nonpriced digital information exchanges related to international trade in goods and services.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors obtained quantitative data about Web-related data flows between countries and regions using Telegeography data on “Server Location as a Percentage of Top Websites.” They then explore how those flows are correlated to trade in goods.

Findings

Web traffic is highly transnational. More than half of the top 100 websites in 9 of the world’s 13 sub-regions are hosted in the USA. More than 15 per cent of the top 100 websites in 9 of the 13 subregions are hosted in Western Europe. East Asia has the largest negative balance in the relationship between incoming and outgoing Web requests. The authors found a very strong negative correlation (−0.878) between Web traffic balances and the balance of trade in goods across all subregions. A similarly strong positive correlation was found with services trade; however, the incompleteness of the data does not allow for strong conclusions yet.

Research limitations/implications

Further research is needed to correlate Web traffic flows with capital flows. The authors also do not have a well-developed theory to explain the strong negative correlation between information flows and goods trade.

Practical implications

The data and analysis have useful implications for digital economy policy. It indicates that digital protectionism of the sort practice by China may succeed in increasing domestic producers’ share of Web requests, but does not make them globally competitive. The strong negative correlation between the balance of unpriced Web information and the balance of trade in goods indicates interdependence rather than domination, challenging narratives that information flow imbalances are caused by market power of the big platforms.

Social implications

The paper demonstrates the degree to which unpriced digital exchanges are transnational and how various countries are more or less globally competitive in the supply of information that the rest of the world finds attractive.

Originality/value

No other published papers have used the data on website traffic data, and previous research has not explored empirically the correlation between information flows and goods trade.

Details

Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-5038

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 23 January 2019

Milton Mueller and Farzaneh Badiei

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Abstract

Details

Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-5038

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