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Quantifying the impact of services liberalization in a developing country

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  • Konan, Denise Eby
  • Maskus, Keith E.

Abstract

The authors consider how service liberalization differs from goods liberalization in terms of welfare, the level and composition of output, and factor prices within a developing economy, in this case Tunisia. Despite recent movements toward liberalization, Tunisian service sectors remain largely closed to foreign participation and are provided at high cost relative to many developing nations. The authors develop a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model of the Tunisian economy with multiple products and services and three trading partners. They model goods liberalization as the unilateral removal of product tariffs. Restraints on services trade involve both restrictions on cross-border supply (mode 1 in the GATS) and on foreign ownership through foreign direct investment (mode 3 in the GATS). The former are modeled as tariff-equivalent price wedges while the latter are comprised of both monopoly-rent distortions (arising from imperfect competition among domestic producers) andinefficiency costs (arising from a failure of domestic service providers to adopt least-cost practices). They find that goods-trade liberalization yields a gain in aggregate welfare and reorients production toward sectors of benchmark comparative advantage. However, a reduction of services barriers in a way that permits greater competition through foreign direct investment generates larger welfare gains. Service liberalization also requires lower adjustment costs, measured in terms of sectoral movement of workers, than does goods-trade liberalization. And it tends to increase economic activity in all sectors and raise the real returns to both capital and labor. The overall welfare gains of comprehensive service liberalization amount to more than 5 percent of initial consumption. The bulk of these gains come from opening markets for finance, business services, and telecommunications. Because these are key inputs into all sectors of the economy, their liberalization cuts costs and drives large

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 81 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 142-162

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:81:y:2006:i:1:p:142-162

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec

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References

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  1. Harris, Richard, 1984. "Applied General Equilibrium Analysis of Small Open Economies with Scale Economies and Imperfect Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 1016-32, December.
  2. Francois, Joseph & Wooton, Ian, 2001. "Market Structure, Trade Liberalization, and the GATS," CEPR Discussion Papers 2669, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Philippa Dee & Kevin Hanslow, 2002. "Multilateral liberalisation of services trade," International Trade 0207002, EconWPA.
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  7. Markusen, James R, 1989. "Trade in Producer Services and in Other Specialized Intermediate Inputs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 85-95, March.
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  13. Sherman Robinson & Zhi Wang & Will Martin, 2002. "Capturing the Implications of Services Trade Liberalization," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 3-33.
  14. Bernard Hoekman, 2000. "The next round of services negotiations: identifying priorities and options," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 31-52.
  15. Deardoff, A.V. & Brown, D.K. & Stern, R.M. & Fox, A.K., 1995. "Computational Analysis of Goods and Services Liberalization in the Uruguay Round," Working Papers 379, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  16. Hoekman, Bernard & Djankov, Simeon, 1996. "Catching up with Eastern Europe? The European Union's Mediterranean free trade initiative," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1562, The World Bank.
  17. Maskus, Keith E & Konan, Denise Eby, 1997. "Trade Liberalization in Egypt," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(3), pages 275-93, October.
  18. Markusen, James & Rutherford, Thomas F. & Tarr, David, 2000. "Foreign direct investment in services and the domestic market for expertise," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2413, The World Bank.
  19. Thomas W. Hertel, 2000. "Potential gains from reducing trade barriers in manufacturing, services and agriculture," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 77-104.
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