FIIA has been pioneering the development of geoeconomics as an analytical framework in international relations research. As a concept, geoeconomics refers to the geostrategic use of economic power. Across the globe, states are employing export controls, investment screening mechanisms, data localization measures, sanctions and subsidies to wield this new economic power politics. Economic and security policymaking increasingly seem to be converging in the strategic thinking of states, with a greater focus on the risks and vulnerabilities posed by economic interdependence. This rise of geoeconomics suggests several lines of inquiry into the nature of international relations and the international order.

First, geoeconomics turns our focus onto the strategies used by major powers in the intensifying great-power competition. This cross-cutting theme looks at how geoeconomic statecraft manifests itself in the strategic behaviour of major actors such as China, the EU, India, Russia and the United States, and in the relations between them. It furthermore analyses how the accelerating geoeconomic power politics affect the economic resilience of smaller actors such as the Nordics.

Secondly, this cross-cutting theme looks at the consequences of the accelerating geoeconomic competition on global economic governance and order. The increased convergence between economic and security thinking seems to be putting pressure on the laws and institutions that govern the international system, but the precise consequences are still unknown. Are we witnessing the emergence of a new geoeconomic order? What are its implications for international cooperation?

Third, the development of geoeconomics as an analytical framework is still in its infancy. Our research looks to further develop geoeconomics as an international relations (IR) theory. Current IR theoretical perspectives leave much of the interplay between economics and security unaccounted for. By straddling the gap between international political economy and security studies, geoeconomic perspectives are geared toward understanding the ways in which economics and security or strategic considerations intertwine. FIIA’s geoeconomic scholarship seeks to develop new analytical tools and concepts to enable a better understanding of the motivations and behaviour of major actors in this new geoeconomic era. 

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Latest publications

Helwig, Niklas & Wigell, Mikael (2023). Euroopan voima geoekonomiassa. Ydin : rauhanpoliittinen aikakauslehti, 15.12.