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From overhang to hangover: consequences of protectionist responses to the global crisis for low-income countries


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  • Willenbockel, Dirk


As the global economic crisis unfolds, policymakers around the world are faced with increasing pressures to resort to protectionist measures in support of domestic producers. While observable recent protectionist trends are certainly a far cry from the spiralling protectionism of the 1930s, and the trade restrictions implemented so far are limited in scope, it is widely expected that pressures on policymakers to adopt protectionist measures will intensify as the crisis deepens. Inspired by the approach proposed in Bouet and Laborde Debucquet (2009), this paper employs a global computable general equilibrium (CGE) trade model to contrast the outcomes of a successful Doha agreement with the consequences of a scenario in which countries raise their import duties to the maximum levels compatible with current WTO obligations. The study complements the earlier CGE analysis of Bouet and Laborde Debucquet by using a more differentiated regional disaggregation with a particular focus on low-income regions in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, by adopting alternative factor market closures that allow for unemployment and underutilization of capital in the short run, and by incorporating the most recent (December 2008) Doha Round draft modality revisions in the analysis. The illustrative simulation results presented hereconfirm that a widespread resort to WTO-rule-consistent protectionism in response to the crisis would have drastic adverse implications for developing country trade and welfare, especially if factor market imperfections are taken into account. A swift successful completion of a meaningful Doha Round – i.e. a Doha Round that is not hollowed out by a plethora of exemptions - would gradually reduce existing binding overhangs considerably and would thus reduce the threat of a WTO-compliant rise in global protection that is bound to impede a global economic recovery.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 16100.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:16100

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Keywords: Doha round; protectionism; global financial crisis; binding overhang; developing countries; least developed countries;

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  1. Bouet, Antoine & Debucquet, David Laborde, 2009. "The potential cost of a failed doha round:," IFPRI discussion papers 886, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  2. Thomas Hertel & David Hummels & Maros Ivanic & Roman Keeney, 2004. "How Confident Can We Be in CGE-Based Assessments of Free Trade Agreements?," NBER Working Papers 10477, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Liu, Jing & Arndt, Channing, 2004. "Parameter Estimation and Measures of Fit in A Global, General Equilibrium Model," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 19, pages 626-649.
  4. Yongzheng Yang, 2005. "Africa in the Doha Round," IMF Policy Discussion Papers 05/8, International Monetary Fund.
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Cited by:
  1. Anna Strutt & Terrie Walmsley, 2011. "Trade and sectoral impacts of the global financial crisis – a dynamic computable general equilibrium analysis," STUDIES IN TRADE AND INVESTMENT, in: Trade-led growth: A sound strategy for Asia, chapter 14 United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).


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