Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Trade Liberalisation and Poverty: What are the Links?

Contents:

Author Info

  • L. Alan Winters

Abstract

This paper asks whether a developing country's own trade liberalisation could translate into increased poverty, and what information would be required to identify whether it will do so. It plots the channels through which such effects might operate, identifying the static effects via four broad groups of institutions - households, distribution channels, factor markets and government - and the dynamic issues of volatility, long-term economic growth, and short-term adjustment stresses. An increase in the price of something a household sells (labour, good, service) increases its welfare. Thus, the paper first explores the likely effects of trade liberalisation on the prices of goods and services, taking into account the distribution sector. Also critical is whether trade reform creates or destroys markets. Trade reform is also likely to affects factor prices - of which the wages of the unskilled is the most important for poverty purposes. If reform boosts the demand for labour-intensive products, it boosts the demand for labour and wages and/or employment will increase. However, not all developing countries are relatively abundant in unskilled labour and trade can boost demand for semi-skilled rather than unskilled, labour. Hence poverty alleviation is not guaranteed. Trade reform can affect tariff revenue, but much less frequently and adversely than is popularly imagined. Even if it does, it is a political decision, not a law of nature, that the poor should suffer the resulting new taxes or cuts in government expenditure. Opening up the economy can reduce risk and variability because world markets are usually more stable than domestic ones. But sometimes it will increase them because stabilisation schemes are undermined or because residents switch to riskier activities. The non-poor can generally tide themselves over adjustment shocks from a liberalisation, so public policy should focus on whether the initially poor and near temporary, setbacks. The key to sustained poverty alleviation is economic growth. There is little reason to fear that growth will not boost the incomes of the poor. Similarly, while the argument that openness stimulates long-run growth has still not been completely proven, there is every presumption that it will. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2002.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/links/doi/10.1111/1467-9701.00495
File Function: link to full text
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal The World Economy.

Volume (Year): 25 (2002)
Issue (Month): 9 (09)
Pages: 1339-1367

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:25:y:2002:i:9:p:1339-1367

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0378-5920

Order Information:
Web: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/subs.asp?ref=0378-5920

Related research

Keywords:

References

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:25:y:2002:i:9:p:1339-1367. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.