The World Economic Forum/Ipsos’s latest survey on globalisation has found that 1 in 2 is unsure about the benefits of globalisation.

  • Globalization questioned by almost half of those surveyed, with many advocating for trade barriers 
  • Decline in trust and ambivalence likely a symptom exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic  
  • For fair outcomes, governments need to work with local officials to create policies related to the environment, jobs and tax, expert say

Public perception of globalization has declined over the past two years, with almost half unsure of its benefits and more than one-third advocating for trade barriers. 

Findings from the latest World Economic Forum/Ipsos’ market survey of almost 20,000 people in 25 countries show a mix of polarization and ambivalence throughout the world about free trade, globalization, and protectionist policies. 

Trends show 75% of those surveyed agreeing that expanding trade is a good thing, yet almost 40% believe there should be more trade barriers to limit imports of foreign goods and services. Notably, 36% are neutral or have no option. 

Sean Doherty

Sean Doherty, Head of International Trade and Investment at the World Economic Forum said: “International trade and investment can grow economies, reduce poverty, improve healthcare and empower people worldwide. However, changes caused by trade can be disruptive and painful, and can sometimes undermine local reforms. The seeming contradiction in survey results is understandable: people want more of the good and less of the bad of globalization. To grow the gains and achieve fair outcomes for all, governments need to listen to local priorities and work together on policies related to the environment, jobs, tax, the digital economy and other issues which reach across borders.”

Trade Barriers

Only 1 in 2 are positive about globalization – down in every country by an average of 10 points since 2019. France, Russia and Belgium have the lowest confidence in globalization, while Malaysia, South Africa, Peru, Brazil and South Korea have the most.


Sustainable Development Impact Summit 20-23 September

These issues will be addressed at the Forum’s upcoming Sustainable Development Impact Summit. The virtual four-day event is hosted alongside the United Nations General Assembly and brings together global leaders from business, government, and civil society. It will focus on new technologies, policies and partnerships to advance cooperation, accelerate progress, and highlight tangible solutions to our global challenges. Find out more here.

Read the full report here