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Clara Brandi

German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

Clara Brandi is Head of the Research Programme “Transformations of Economic and Social Systems” at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE). She holds a PhD from the European University Institute, a Master’s degree from the University of Oxford (MPhil in Politics) and a Master’s degree in economics from the University of Freiburg, where she received the Hayek Award. Clara Brandi works on global governance and sustainable development, with a focus in the interplay between trade and the environment, paying particular attention to developing countries and emerging markets. Her current research includes a focus on voluntary sustainability standards and the drivers and effects of including non-economic issues in international trade agreements. Clara Brandi provides policy-advice at the national and the international level. She teaches at the University of Duisburg-Essen and at the University of Bonn.
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publication
Cling together, swing together: the contagious effects of COVID‐19 on developing countries through global value chains

This paper aims at estimating the economic vulnerability of developing countries to disruptions in global value chains (GVCs) due to the COVID‐19 pandemic. It uses trade in value added data for a sample of 12 developing countries in sub‐Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America to assess their dependence on demand and supply from the three main hubs China, Europe, and North America. Using first estimates on COVID‐19‐induced changes in final demand and production, we obtain an early projection of the GDP effect during the lockdowns that runs through trade in GVCs. Our estimates reveal that adverse demand‐side effects reduce GDP up to 5.4 percent, and that collapsing foreign supply puts an even larger share of countries’ GDP at risk. Overall, we confirm conjecture that the countries most affected are those highly integrated in GVCs (South‐East Asian countries). We argue, however, that these countries also benefit from a well‐diversified portfolio of foreign suppliers and demand destinations, possibly leading to a cushioning of economic downswing because COVID‐19 stroke major hubs at different times.

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publication
Do environmental provisions in trade agreements make exports from developing countries greener?

Environmental provisions in preferential trade agreements (PTAs) are increasing in terms of their number and variety. The economic effects of these environmental provisions remain largely unclear. It is, therefore, necessary to determine whether the trend to incorporate environmental provisions in PTAs counteracts the goal to spur economic development through trade via these PTAs. This is the first article in which the trade effects of environmental provisions in PTAs are thoroughly investigated. The spotlight is put on developing countries for which the assumed trade-off between economic development and environmental protection is particularly acute. This article buses a new fine-grained dataset on a broad range of environmental provisions in 680 PTAs, combined with a panel of worldwide bilateral trade flows from 1984 to 2016. We show that environmental provisions can help reduce dirty exports and increase green exports from developing countries. This effect is particularly pronounced in developing countries with stringent environmental regulations. By investigating how environmental provisions in PTAs affect trade flows, this article contributes to the literature on the following topics: international trade and the environment; design and impacts of trade agreements; and greening the economy in developing countries. It also shows that the design of trade agreements matters. Environmental provisions can be used as targeted policy tools to promote the green transformation and to leverage synergies between the economic and environmental effects of including environmental provisions in trade agreements.

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publication
Do environmental provisions in trade agreements make exports from developing countries greener?

Environmental provisions in preferential trade agreements (PTAs) are increasing in terms of their number and variety. The economic effects of these environmental provisions remain largely unclear. It is, therefore, necessary to determine whether the trend to incorporate environmental provisions in PTAs counteracts the goal to spur economic development through trade via these PTAs. This is the first article in which the trade effects of environmental provisions in PTAs are thoroughly investigated. The spotlight is put on developing countries for which the assumed trade-off between economic development and environmental protection is particularly acute. This article buses a new fine-grained dataset on a broad range of environmental provisions in 680 PTAs, combined with a panel of worldwide bilateral trade flows from 1984 to 2016. We show that environmental provisions can help reduce dirty exports and increase green exports from developing countries. This effect is particularly pronounced in developing countries with stringent environmental regulations. By investigating how environmental provisions in PTAs affect trade flows, this article contributes to the literature on the following topics: international trade and the environment; design and impacts of trade agreements; and greening the economy in developing countries. It also shows that the design of trade agreements matters. Environmental provisions can be used as targeted policy tools to promote the green transformation and to leverage synergies between the economic and environmental effects of including environmental provisions in trade agreements.

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publication
Linking Voluntary Standards to Sustainable Development Goals

With the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations has called on the private sector to contribute more to achieving the sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This report helps decision makers in the public and private sectors to understand where voluntary sustainability standards are best placed to contribute. It maps the linkages between these standards and each SDG goal, including its specific targets.

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publication
The Interaction of Private and Public Governance: The Case of Sustainability Standards for Palm Oil

By providing insights into the interaction between private-driven and public-driven governance initiatives in the context of the “Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil” (RSPO) and the “Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil” (ISPO), this article sheds new light the interaction between private and public governance. It investigates how the relationship between the RSPO and the ISPO evolves over time and who and what drives this evolution. While the interaction between these standard schemes has initially largely been characterized by competition, it has become more collaborative and also coordinated in nature. This article argues that the experimentalist architecture of palm oil governance has fostered mechanisms for coordination across public and private certification schemes and has helped to join up the separate components of the regime complex through productive interactions. At the same time, several gaps and challenges remain, especially in light of the different interests of the multiple public and private actors involved in palm oil.

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