The Dalai Lama can have a profound impact -- on the economy

The Dalai Lama bows before the start of a press conference at Radio City Music Hall during a break between teachings.


BOB MOON: Turns out Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, can have a profound impact -- economically speaking. That's according to a study on the financial consequences of his visits to 159 countries.

Marketplace's China Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz reports.

ROB SCHMITZ: It turns out the bald, red-robed Nobel Peace Prize recipient is an economic downer wherever he goes. That's thanks to China's leaders. They fume each time they see the face of Tibetan independence sitting down with one of their trading partners.

NILS-HENDRIK KLANN: They usually say, in terms of economic retaliation, you're just going to have to look what happens. It usually implies that people will have to look for some fallout in the future.

Economist Nils-Hendrik Klann helped author the study. He found that countries hosting the Dalai Lama lose, on average, eight percent of their trade with China in the two years following the visit. Klann says this "Dalai Lama Effect" sends a clear message about doing business with China.

KLANN: The way we interact among each other in terms of trade and diplomacy might not be the way that countries will interact in the future with these new rising economies.

The results, by the way, didn't hold for every country. President Obama met with the Dalai Lama earlier this year, and it led to some good karma: U.S. exports to China are on track for a record-setting year.

In Shanghai, I'm Rob Schmitz, for Marketplace.

About the author

Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent in Shanghai.
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Tejas...you don't want Ladakh, Sikkim, Darjeeling, Arunachal to start protesting against India if they kick Dalai Lama out. India already has tons of internal problem.

Dear Tejas, I hope you are not an Indian. Because your statement is so disgraceful that it goes against the Indian tradition and culture and as an Indian, I will feel very ashamed. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a greatest living Gandhian as mentioned by the Prime Minister of India. The non-violent struggle for his people and his land is a just one that all the people of the world should support.

I bet if you look at the economic impact of the Dalai Lama visiting an American city, that you would see a strong positive effect. A different perspective, a different result.

This adverse economic impact that often (but apparently also selectively) follows a visit by His Holiness arises from a coercive retaliatory policy conceived and implemented by Chinese officials. Let's get the attributions of cause correct. Or was this intended as a PSA for China?

The wholesale destruction of Tibet and its culture recalls what the Nazis and the Soviet Union did with their policies of wholesale cultural genocide in Eastern Europe during WWII . Thank God there are a few countries in this world still that revere compassion and that are not terrified to stand up to a gigantic totalitarian police state.

India is impacted the most by keeping soft corner to Dalai Lama. First of all it spends millions keeping him and his supporters in India. And this also worsens India's already tense relation with China. India should kick him out.

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