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Are The Poverty Effects of Trade Policies Invisible?

  • Verma, Monika
  • Valenzuela, Ernesto
  • Hertel, Thomas W.

With the advent of the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda, as well as the Millennium Development Goals aiming to reduce poverty by 50 percent by 2015, poverty impacts of trade reforms have attracted increasing attention. This has been particularly true of agricultural trade reform due to the importance of food in the diets of the poor, relatively higher protection in agriculture, as well as the heavy concentration of global poverty in rural areas where agriculture is the main source of income. Yet some in this debate have argued that, given the extreme volatility in agricultural commodity markets, the additional price and poverty impacts due to trade liberalization might well be undetectable. This paper formally tests this “invisibility hypothesis” via stochastic simulation of a computable general equilibrium framework. The hypothesis test is based on the comparison of two sets of price and poverty distributions. The first originates solely from the inherent variability in global staple grains markets, while the second combines the effects of this inherent variability and trade reform. Results indicate that the short-run impacts of trade liberalization on poverty are not distinguishable from market volatility in majority of the fifteen focus countries – suggesting that the poverty impacts of agricultural trade liberalization may indeed be invisible.

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Paper provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its series 2010 Annual Meeting, July 25-27, 2010, Denver, Colorado with number 61793.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea10:61793
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  1. Keeney, Roman & Thomas Hertel, 2005. "GTAP-AGR : A Framework for Assessing the Implications of Multilateral Changes in Agricultural Policies," GTAP Technical Papers 1869, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  2. DeVuyst, Eric A. & Preckel, Paul V., 1997. "Sensitivity analysis revisited: A quadrature-based approach," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 175-185, April.
  3. David O’Connor & Maria Rosa Lunati, 1999. "Economic Opening and the Demand for Skills in Developing Countries: A Review of Theory and Evidence," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 149, OECD Publishing.
  4. William R. Cline, 2004. "Trade Policy and Global Poverty," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 379, March.
  5. Hertel, Thomas & Keeney, Roman & Ivanic, Maros & Winters, Alan, 2007. "Why Isn’t the Doha Development Agenda More Poverty Friendly?," GTAP Working Papers 2292, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  6. François Bourguignon & Sylvie Lambert & Akiko Suwa-Eisenmann, 2004. "Trade exposure and income volatility in cash crop exporting developing countries," Working Papers 155350, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  7. Cranfield, J. A. L. & Preckel, Paul V. & Eales, James S. & Hertel, Thomas W., 2004. "Simultaneous estimation of an implicit directly additive demand system and the distribution of expenditure--an application of maximum entropy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 361-385, March.
  8. Maros Ivanic & Will Martin, 2008. "Implications of higher global food prices for poverty in low-income countries-super-1," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 39(s1), pages 405-416, November.
  9. Ivanic, Maros & Martin, Will, 2008. "Implications of higher global food prices for poverty in low-income countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4594, The World Bank.
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  11. Hertel, Thomas W. & Keeney, Roman & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2004. "Global Analysis Of Agricultural Trade Liberalization: Assessing Model Validity," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 20199, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  12. Alós-Ferrer, Carlos & Weidenholzer, Simon, 2008. "Contagion and efficiency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 251-274, November.
  13. Arndt, Channing, 1996. "An Introduction to Systematic Sensitivity Analysis via Gaussian Quadrature," GTAP Technical Papers 305, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  14. Ivanic, Maros, 2004. "Reconciliation of the GTAP and Household Survey Data," GTAP Research Memoranda 1408, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
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