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Assessing the Effects of Trade Liberalisation: A Critical Examination

  • Frank Ackerman

Computable general equilibrium (CGE) models of world trade, often presented as demonstrating the benefits of trade liberalization, are now making rather less promising forecasts than they used to just a few years ago. The estimated benefits are not only smaller in the aggregate, but also skewed toward the developed countries; the expected contribution of trade liberalization to economic development and poverty alleviation is extremely limited. Calculation of the benefits to be expected of services liberalization, trade facilitation measures, and long-term productivity gains from trade liberalization remains problematical and speculative. The empirical limitations of CGE forecasts stem from broader theoretical weaknesses: the models are largely locked within a static framework and, oddly, assume that trade policy causes no changes in total employment, upwards or downwards (??). Models built on more adequate theories, which have only recently begun to appear, could offer a very different picture of the effects of trade liberalization.

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Article provided by Associazione Rossi Doria in its journal QA.

Volume (Year): (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:rar:journl:0037
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  1. Hertel, Thomas & David Hummels & Maros Ivanic & Roman Keeney, 2003. "How Confident Can We Be in CGE-Based Assessments of Free Trade Agreements?," GTAP Working Papers 1324, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  2. Antoine Bouët & Jean-Christophe Bureau & Yvan Decreux & Sébastien Jean, 2005. "Multilateral agricultural trade liberalisation : the contrasting fortunes of developing countries in the Doha round," Working Papers 156783, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  3. J. Francois & H. van Meijl & F. van Tongeren, 2003. "Trade Liberalization and Developing Countries under the Doha Round," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 03-060/2, Tinbergen Institute, revised 30 Aug 2003.
  4. Paul Oslington, 2005. "Unemployment and Trade Liberalisation," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(8), pages 1139-1155, 08.
  5. Frank Ackerman, 2001. "Still dead after all these years: interpreting the failure of general equilibrium theory," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2), pages 119-139.
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