The purpose of this study by Nathan was to provide the World Bank with some quantitative indications of the extent to which the development of additive manufacturing could disrupt trade flows.
From a data point of view, a major shift to additive manufacturing would see some goods flows transformed into data flows and trade in services, while scale effects in 3D printing and distribution would tend to orient goods trade towards hubs that are yet to be established on a firm footing.
Given that additive manufacturing is still in the process of being developed at scale, Nathan sought to answer the following questions:
1. Which products and sectors are most susceptible to being manufactured using the new technology?
2. What proportion of world trade could potentially be manufactured using the new technology?
Nathan conducted economic analysis to determine the impact that additive manufacturing could have on global trade, and presented it to the World Bank.