Global Economic Scenarios

Global Economic Scenarios explores the potential architectures of global economic order, drawing from data-driven insights captured through global projections and trends analysis.


Projections and Trends

The projections and trends analysis uses historical data on demographic, economic and fiscal indicators with an empirical framework to calculate three sets of growth projections to 2040, each based on different assumptions. The analysis also considers the key role of technology in affecting growth and state capacity and recognizes other key challenges such as environmental change, inequality and democracy, and various uncertainties. Not only does this analysis provide data-driven insights into the medium-term conditions of different countries and regions, but it also carries implications for the future of global economic order by way of governance and cooperation.

Scenarios of Global Economic Order

Future research will analyze these implications by exploring potential architectures of global economic order. While a multipolar world has emerged, the shape of global economic order within it is yet to be determined. The scenarios of global economic order will draw on the insights of the initial projections and trends to assess broader geopolitical dynamics and address their magnitude and inherent intricacies in more detail.


Key findings from the projections and trends analysis provide high-level insight into the factors that will determine medium-term growth and state capacity — and ultimately shape global economic order in the multipolar world.

Key Findings

Five overarching findings collectively frame a foundation for exploring future scenarios of global economic order.

GES Highlights Slide1
World Population Growth Is Dropping Fast

World population growth is slowing down due to falling birth rates. Populations are getting older in every region outside of Africa.

GES Highlights Slide2
Different Growth Cases Will Determine Relative Economic Size in the Global Economy

In each case, share of world GDP for the United States, the European Union and Japan shrinks by 2040, whereas India’s share is expected to rise. China’s share varies.

GES Highlights Slide3
Superpower Competition

It is unlikely that China could surpass the size of the US economy in the next 15 years.

GES Highlights Slide4
Weights in the World Economy Look Much Different with Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)

Using PPP, China is already the largest economy. Although it is useful for comparing living standards, PPP is subject to measurement error and does not represent a country’s actual economic weight.

GES Highlights Slide5
Government Debt Will Remain Persistently High

Debt stocks rose significantly over the past two decades. Interest rates are likely to remain higher than in the 2010s and many countries will struggle to manage deficits.

GES Highlights Slide6
How Can Technology Transformation Occur?

Technologies transform society through creative destruction and intertwine to create new economic possibilities, which will play a big part in determining economic growth and state capacity in all scenarios.

GES Highlights Slide7
Uncertainty Is Intrinsic to the Future

Unpredictable yet highly plausible events come as surprises since they cannot be forecasted with precision.

GES Highlights Slide8
There Is Growing Divergence in Governance Models

Discontent with the existing rules-based international order is fraying multilateralism. Geopolitical fragmentation is fuelling tensions between democratic and authoritarian models.

GES Highlights Slide9
Uncertain Trajectories for Global Economic Order

The multipolar world can take many forms. Future work will explore the dynamics that may shape the economic landscape of global order in the medium term.

GES Highlights Slide10

Slide Deck

Projections and Trends slide deck

A complete analysis of the key indicators (demographic, economic, fiscal and technological) and other challenges that will shape governance and cooperation in the global economy through to the year 2040.

Data and Method

Economic Growth and Fiscal Capacity Projections: Data and Method

A description of the data and empirical framework used for the medium-term projections of economic and fiscal indicators in the analysis.

Data Set

Economic Growth and Fiscal Capacity Projections: Data Set

The data used for the projections of economic and fiscal indicators by growth case, from 2000 to 2040.

Team Members

  • Paul Samson
    Paul Samson
    President of CIGI

    Paul Samson is president of CIGI. He has 30 years of experience across a range of policy issues with partners from around the world. He is a former senior government official and also served for many years as co-chair of the principal G20 working group on the global economy.

  • Timothy Sargent
    Tim Sargent
    Distinguished Fellow

    Tim Sargent is a CIGI distinguished fellow with 28 years of experience with the Government of Canada. He has held senior roles at Global Affairs Canada, the Privy Council Office and the Department of Finance, giving him policy-making experience at the highest level, in particular in the areas of trade policy, international finance and macroeconomics.

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    Nikolina Zivkovic
    Research Associate

    Nikolina Zivkovic is a research associate at CIGI where she contributes to the planning and execution of research output and provides advanced research support.

  • CIGI-Headshots Template - Web Square-Tracey Forrest
    Tracey Forrest
    Research Director, Transformative Technologies

    Tracey Forrest is research director of transformative technologies at CIGI. She is a professional engineer and adjunct professor at the University of Waterloo, with domain experience across quantum, energy and technological innovation. She has held senior leadership roles with organizations and initiatives that support the impactful development and deployment of technology.

  • Bessma Momani-Square.jpg
    Bessma Momani
    Senior Fellow

    CIGI Senior Fellow Bessma Momani has a Ph.D. in political science with a focus on international political economy and is a full professor and associate vice‑president, international at the University of Waterloo.