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Agricultural Trade Liberalization and Poverty Dynamics in Three Developing Countries


  • Julie Litchfield
  • Neil McCulloch
  • L. Alan Winters


Many developing countries implemented sweeping agricultural reforms over the last decade. Reforms have included the removal of quotas and price controls, changes in international trade barriers, and the commercialization and privatization of state marketing boards for key crops. These reforms have often generated intense criticism from groups claiming that they hurt poor farmers and poor households. This concern has generated an extensive literature on the economics of agricultural trade reform in developing countries, much of which has focused on explaining the large variations in supply response across countries, regions and households (e.g., Key, Sadoulet, and De Janvry). In addition, anumber of papers have attempted to simulate the impact on poverty using household survey data and actual or predicted price changes (e.g., Chen and Ravallion). However, in many cases the true impact of agricultural reform is difficult to determine. In part this is because the analysis is based upon household surveys at a single point in time, so that the final (post-adjustment) consequences upon individual households are unknown. Also, even where observations are available over time, it has so far proved difficult to disentangle the effects of trade and agricultural liberalization from other contemporary shocks…
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Suggested Citation

  • Julie Litchfield & Neil McCulloch & L. Alan Winters, 2003. "Agricultural Trade Liberalization and Poverty Dynamics in Three Developing Countries," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1285-1291.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:85:y:2003:i:5:p:1285-1291

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anderson, Kym & Croser, Johanna L. & Sandri, Damiano & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2009. "Agricultural Distortion Patterns Since the 1950s: What Needs Explaining?," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 50305, World Bank.
    2. Valenzuela, Ernesto & Wong, Sara & Sandri, Damiano, 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Ecuador," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48394, World Bank.
    3. Anderson,Kym (ed.), 2010. "The Political Economy of Agricultural Price Distortions," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521763233, March.
    4. Bouet, Antoine & Laborde Debucquet, David, 2010. "Economics of export taxation in a context of food crisis," IFPRI discussion papers 994, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Thomas W. Hertel & Will Martin & Amanda M. Leister, 2010. "Potential Implications of a Special Safeguard Mechanism in the World Trade Organization: the Case of Wheat," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 24(2), pages 330-359, August.
    6. D. Gale Johnson, 1975. "World Agriculture, Commodity Policy, and Price Variability," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 57(5), pages 823-828.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nadia Belhaj Hassine & Veronique Robichaud & Bernard Decaluwé, 2010. "Agricultural Trade Liberalization, Productivity Gain and Poverty Alleviation: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Working Papers 519, Economic Research Forum, revised 05 Jan 2010.
    2. Sylvain Chabe-Ferret & Julien Gourdon & Mohamed Ali Marouani & Tancrède Voituriez, 2007. "Trade-Induced Changes in Economic Inequality: Assessment Issues and Policy Implications for Developing Countries," Working Papers DT/2007/11, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    3. Bardhan, Pranab, 2006. "Globalization and rural poverty," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1393-1404, August.
    4. repec:dau:papers:123456789/4331 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Rodriguez-Pose, Andres & Gill, Nicholas, 2006. "How does trade affect regional disparities?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1201-1222, July.
    6. Pranab Bardhan, 2006. "Globalization, Inequality, and Poverty," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 9126, Inter-American Development Bank.
    7. Nadia Belhaj Hassine & Veronique Robichaud & Bernard Decaluwé, 2010. "Does Agricultural Trade Liberalization Help The Poor in Tunisia? A Micro-Macro View in A Dynamic General Equilibrium Context," Working Papers 556, Economic Research Forum, revised 10 Jan 2010.
    8. Pranab Bardhan, 2006. "Globalization, Inequality, and Poverty," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 2329, Inter-American Development Bank.
    9. Isik-Dikmelik, Aylin, 2006. "Trade reforms and welfare : an ex-post decomposition of income in Vietnam," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4049, The World Bank.
    10. Kenneth E. Jackson, 2011. "Globalisation, Agriculture and Development: New Zealand’s Path to Prosperity?," Chapters,in: Globalisation, Agriculture and Development, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. Bruno Arpino & Arnstein Aassve, 2014. "The role of villages in households’ poverty exit: evidence from a multilevel model for rural Vietnam," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 2175-2189, July.
    12. Alemayehu Geda, 2006. "Openness, Inequality and Poverty in Africa," Working Papers 25, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty


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