IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Trade, Growth and Economic Inequality in the Asia-Pacific Region: Lessons for Policymakers


  • Theresa M. GREANEY

    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics, Saunders Hall 542, 2424 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA.)


    (Advanced School of Economics and Commerce, University of Douala, Cameroon.)


This policy brief is intended to provide policymakers with a summary of the results of our research project entitled “Trade, Growth and Economic Inequality in the Asia-Pacific Region”, which explores and documents the linkages between international trade and inequality in the Asia-Pacific Region (APR).The project’s eleven research papers appeared in a special issue of the Journal of Asian Economics in February 2017. Overall, we conclude that the relationships between international trade, foreign direct investment (FDI), economic growth and inequality are extremely complicated, so no single theory should be relied upon for policy guidance across all APR countries with their varying stages of development and unique characteristics. Our studies find some evidence that trade or FDI contribute to inequality, some evidence that it reduces inequality and some evidence of no causal relationship. These seemingly conflicting results are not at all surprising given the complex relationships involved and the different countries, time periods, and means of measuring inequality, trade and FDI our authors adopted. Our main takeaway for policymakers is to be wary of both anti-trade and pro-trade advocates who provide “one size fits all” advice related to trade, FDI and inequality; these economic relationships are much too complex for that.

Suggested Citation

  • Theresa M. GREANEY & Baybars KARACAOVALI, 2017. "Trade, Growth and Economic Inequality in the Asia-Pacific Region: Lessons for Policymakers," Journal of Economics and Political Economy, KSP Journals, vol. 4(2), pages 135-143, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ksp:journ1:v:4:y:2017:i:2:p:135-143

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kiyota, Kozo & Maruyama, Sawako, 2017. "ICT, offshoring, and the demand for part-time workers: The case of Japanese manufacturing," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 75-86.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Kozo Kiyota & Sawako Maruyama, 2018. "On the Demand for Female Workers in Japan: The Role of ICT and Offshoring," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 17(2), pages 25-46, Summer.
    2. Timothy DESTEFANO & HANEDA Sho & KWON Hyeog Ug, 2019. "Determinants of Structural Adjustment and Employment Use in Japan: Firm Characteristics, Offshoring and Industrial Robotics," Discussion papers 19067, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    3. Taniguchi, Mina, 2019. "The effect of an increase in imports from China on local labor markets in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 1-18.

    More about this item


    International trade; Foreign direct investment; Economic growth; Economic inequality.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ksp:journ1:v:4:y:2017:i:2:p:135-143. 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: . General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Bilal KARGI (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.