Global Flows in a Digital Age: How Trade, Finance, People and Data Connect the World Economy

There has been much discusion about exports and cross-border financial flows, but not enough analysis has been made on the comprehensive web of cross-border interactions that have increasingly characterized the world economy.

McKinsey Global Institute and the McKinsey High Tech Practice compiled data on the global flows of goods, services, finance, people and the data and communication for 195 countries from 1990-2013.

This report focuses on two major forces that have shaped inflows and outflows: the shift of the global economy towards emerging economies and the spread of digital technologies and Internet connectivity.


  • Executive Summary
  • Global Flows Have Created a Tightly Interconnected World Economy
  • Digitization is Transforming All Flows
  • Networks of Global Flows Are Becoming Deeper and Broader
  • More Countries and Cities Are Participating in Global Flows
  • Sector Perspectives on Global Flows
  • Global Flows Could Triple by 2025 if Current Forces Unfold
  • Capturing the Opportunity Will Require Smart Strategy and Policy


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