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Trade, Standards and Poverty. Evidence from Senegal

  • Maertens, Miet
  • Swinnen, Johan F.M.

The debate on trade and poverty is reinforced by recent studies on the role of standards. It is argued that increasing standards act as trade barriers for developing countries and cause further marginalization of the poor. This paper is the first to quantify income and poverty effects of such high-standards trade and to integrate labor market effects, by using company and household survey data from the vegetable export chain in Senegal. We find that exports have grown sharply despite increasing standards, resulting in important income gains and poverty reduction. Our estimates indicate that poverty is 14 % points lower due to vegetable exports. Tightening food standards induced a shift from smallholder contract-based farming to large-scale integrated estate production, altering the mechanism through which poor households benefit: through labor markets instead of product markets. The impact on poverty reduction is stronger as the poorest benefit relatively more from working on large-scale farms than from contract farming.

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Paper provided by European Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 106th Seminar, October 25-27, 2007, Montpellier, France with number 7924.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ags:eaa106:7924
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