Faculty spotlight: Emily Jones

Emily Jones is Associate Professor in Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, and her research work focuses on the ways in which the world’s smallest and poorest economies can manoeuvre within the global economy to achieve a more equitable global integration. She is also the Director of the Global Economic Governance Programme.

We spoke to her following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. Emily noted that Brexit has underlined the need for more equitable global integration for those in industrialised countries too. “The vote for Brexit has revealed a deep, long-standing cleavage in British society,” she said, “and part of that is explained by those who are left behind by globalisation. Statistics published following the referendum show that those who voted to leave the EU are typically on low wages from white, working-class areas that have been economically neglected for the past three decades.”

“The UK has been one of globalisation’s loudest cheerleaders. It promised a rising tide that would lift all boats – the premise being that, on balance, we would gain more from global integration, and could use those gains to compensate the smaller proportion who wouldn’t benefit. But we’ve failed to compensate the losers, and as a result, income equality has shot up and social mobility has declined. It is a political imperative to rectify this now, but we need to think very carefully about how we do this. We need to ultimately ensure that global governance works for everybody.”

In navigating Brexit, the UK government needs to be aware of the implications for developing countries. “Many small developing countries which have trade ties with the UK are anxious as their trade could be severely disrupted. For example, many Caribbean and African countries are already economically vulnerable due to their size, and while to us they may be relatively small trade partners, we should seek a responsible solution that ensures they don’t suffer trade disruption. The UK has been an important player in international aid and development assistance through the Department for International Development and the all-party commitment to give 0.7% of our GDP to aid. We should continue to prioritise development through Brexit negotiations and beyond.”

Emily, who also has a background in trade negotiations with a particular focus on the asymmetric negotiations of small developing countries in the global trading system, points out that the UK is now in asymmetric negotiation with Europe. The lessons in her book Negotiating Against the Odds: A Guide for Trade Negotiators from Developing Countries are particularly pertinent. “Experience shows us that smaller countries can be very influential in an asymmetric negotiation, but this requires skilful planning and deft political manoeuvring.”

In the wake of the global financial crisis, Emily initiated a three-year research project to look at the ways in which low-income countries are responding to international banking standards. The project has received funding from the Department for International Development and the Economic and Social Research Council. It looks at how political institutions and processes - at both the domestic and global levels - shape the impact of global banking initiatives on low-income countries and their ability to harness financial flows for inclusive growth and a more equitable global integration.

“Basel III, a piece of regulation created by just 27 countries, is arguably too complex for many developing countries. Although this is widely accepted, including by the IMF and World Bank, many developing countries are implementing these standards as there are strong incentives to signal to international investors that they’re doing high quality regulation. In the next year, we’re undertaking case studies to really hone in on the politics of banking regulation in low-income countries. It’s vital we highlight the challenges these economies face and bring their voices to an international level, in order to ensure globalisation, and global integration, works for everybody - not just those who just pose a systemic risk.”

Emily is also the academic coordinator for the Oxford-Princeton Global Leaders Fellowship Programme, which provides exceptional early-career researchers from non-OECD countries with an opportunity to work on global governance and the role of developing and emerging countries at both Oxford and Princeton universities.