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The UN Global Policy Model (GPM)

​​The UN Global Policy Model (GPM) is a tool for the empirical investigation of historic trends, current conditions and 'what if' scenarios for the world economy. The main purpose of the GPM is to provide insights into problems of policy design and international coordination. In keeping with the Keynesian view that the future is fundamentally uncertain, GPM scenarios do not claim any foresight about the course of the economy. Rather, they describe plausible developments that, under specified assumptions, may follow from given policy decisions and changes in structural conditions.

The GPM comprises a databank of historical time series and a set of equations and algorithms that organize the original data and estimate model parameters using econometric techniques. Unlike many other models, the GPM does not make assumptions that trigger price-driven equilibrium and full employment outcomes. Shocks can yield persistent or prolonged effects and users of the GPM are faced with challenges similar to those of the real world, which require rigorous thinking about the needed policy responses or changes in conditions to maintain growth and macro-financial stability. Salient characteristics of this model include a dynamic mapping of financial flows and stocks in a consistent macro-economic and global setting, an assessment of public and private sector behaviour facing shocks and borrowing constraints, and the analysis income distribution and employment, including their feedbacks onto aggregate demand and growth.

The first version of the GPM was built in 2007 for the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs based on research done in European and United States universities. It drew on the expertise developed at the University of Cambridge, UK, by the Cambridge Economic Policy Group and on 'structuralist' models, such as those based on the Social Accounting Matrix approach, studied at the Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University in The Netherlands and at the New School for Social Research in New York.

Since 2013 the responsibility for the maintenance, update and further development of the GPM has been transferred to UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies (DGDS). DGDS uses the GPM in its publications, including the flagship 'Trade and Development Report', and for research on debt and finance in a consistent macro-economic and global setting. The GPM also informs contributions to the G20 'Framework Group' as well as research and policy analysis jointly undertaken with partners. Critical among these are the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Tufts University's Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE).


Papers and publications about the GPM

Francis Cripps and Alex Izurieta, GPM Technical Description, version 5.2c

Francis Cripps, Alex Izurieta and Rob Vos, GPM Technical Description, version 3.0

Francis Cripps, Alex Izurieta and Rob Vos, GPM: Underlying Concepts and Empirical Illustrations.

Michael Landesmann, Review of the GPM: Trade and Economic Growth

Marc Lavoie, A Macro-financial Assessment of the UN GPM

Jo Michell, Evaluating the UN Global Policy Model

Özlem Onaran, Review of the Dynamics of Employment and Income Distribution in the UN GPM

Servaas Storm, Global Policy Coordination for Development: the UN Global Policy Model


UN Publications using GPM analyses and scenarios



Trade and Development Report, 2016 -Structural Transformation for Inclusive and Sustained Growth (chapter I section C)

Trade and Development Report, 2014 - Global Governance and Policy Space for Development (chapter II)

Trade and Development Report, 2013 - Adjusting to the Changing Dynamics of the World Economy (chapter I, Appendix)

UNCTAD Issue Note: Post-Brexit Economic Scenarios: More Foggy than Fearful


UN Department of Economic and Social Affiars (DESA )

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2013 (Chapter I)

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2012 Update (Section 4: Policy Recommendations)

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2012 (Chapter I)

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2011 Update (Section 3: Risks and Uncertainties)

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2011 (chapter I)

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2010 (chapter I)

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009 Update (chapter I)

World Economic and Social Survey 2009 (chapter I and chapter IV)


Links to partner institutions with reference to joint GPM work

International Labour Office (ILO)

Tufts University, GDAE