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Trade Policy and Poverty in Developing Countries - Politica commerciale e povertà nei paesi in via di sviluppo


  • Ram, Rati

    () (Economics Department, Illinois State University)

  • Peneva, Desislava

    (Economics Department, Illinois State University)


The massive empirical research on the relation between ‘outward orientation’ and economic well-being of countries has been hampered by lack of good measures of outward orientation that reflect a country’s international trade policy. A recently-constructed index of trade restrictiveness, which is based on both tariffs and non-tariff restrictions, remedies most weaknesses of other existing proxies for trade policy. This paper uses the aforesaid index for a sizable cross-country sample to explore the association between trade policy and poverty in developing countries, and also to judge the covariation of the index with several widely-used measures of outward orientation which are supposed to reflect trade policy. Seven main points are noted. First, there is little indication that more restrictive trade regimes are associated with increased poverty. Second, there is also no indication that a restrictive trade policy is associated with significantly lower income. Third, the trade restrictiveness index has low correlation with ‘openness’ which has been extensively used as a proxy for outward orientation. Fourth, the index has low correlation also with a well-known measure of ‘globalization’. Fifth, the comprehensive index, which includes both tariffs and non-tariff barriers, has a relatively modest correlation with the index that is based on the same methodology but includes only tariffs. Sixth, therefore, considerable caution is urged in drawing strong conclusions about the association of a country’s trade policy with measures of its well-being. Last, care is also appropriate in treating most widely-used indicators of outward orientation as reasonable proxies for trade policy. - La consistente ricerca empirica sul rapporto tra “orientamento all’esterno” e benessere economico dei paesi è stata ostacolata dalla mancanza di valide misure di orientamento all’esterno che riflettono la politica commerciale estera di una nazione. Un indice di restrizione commerciale elaborato di recente e basato su restrizioni sia tariffarie sia non tariffarie, sopperisce alla maggior parte delle debolezze delle proxy di politica commerciale preesistenti. In questo studio viene utilizzato detto indice su un campione cross-country al fine di studiare l’associazione tra politica commerciale e povertà nei paesi in via di sviluppo, e anche di giudicare la covarianza dell’indice con diverse misure di orientamento all’esterno già ampiamente impiegate, misure ritenute il riflesso della politica commerciale di quel paese. Vengono segnalati sette risultati principali: i) vi sono scarse evidenze che regimi commerciali più restrittivi portino ad un aumento della povertà; ii) non ci sono evidenze che una politica commerciale restrittiva produca redditi significativamente più bassi; iii) l’indice di restrizione commerciale è scarsamente correlato con “l’apertura” che in passato è stata ampiamente utilizzata quale proxy per misurare l’orientamento all’esterno; iv) l’indice ha una debole correlazione anche con una ben nota misura di “globalizzazione”; v) l’indice, che comprende barriere sia tariffarie che non tariffarie, ha una correlazione relativamente modesta con l’indice che si basa sulla stessa metodologia ma che include solo le barriere tariffarie; vi) occorre conseguentemente molta prudenza nel trarre conclusioni circa il rapporto tra la politica commerciale di un paese e il suo benessere economico; vii) è necessaria cautela anche nel considerare la maggior parte degli indicatori di orientamento all’esterno attualmente in uso come idonei per la valutazione della politica commerciale di un paese.

Suggested Citation

  • Ram, Rati & Peneva, Desislava, 2011. "Trade Policy and Poverty in Developing Countries - Politica commerciale e povertà nei paesi in via di sviluppo," Economia Internazionale / International Economics, Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato Agricoltura di Genova, vol. 64(4), pages 489-502.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:ecoint:0633

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    More about this item


    Trade Policy; Outward Orientation; Poverty; Trade Restrictiveness Index;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O24 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Trade Policy; Factor Movement; Foreign Exchange Policy


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