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Trade-Induced Changes in Economic Inequality: Assessment Issues and Policy Implications for Developing Countries

  • Sylvain Chabe-Ferret

    ()

    (CERDI, Clermont-Ferrand)

  • Julien Gourdon

    ()

    (CERDI, Clermont-Ferrand)

  • Mohamed Ali Marouani

    ()

    (Université Paris1-Sorbonne/IEDES, DIAL et ERF)

  • Tancrède Voituriez

    ()

    (CIRAD et IDDRI)

(english) The starting point of this paper is given by country situations where trade liberalization is expected to be poverty and inequality alleviating in the long run while inducing a short run increase in poverty or in inequality. The question we ask is what are the distributive aspects of trade which are worth documenting to better help governments integrate trade policies within a global policy framework so as to enhance growth and reduce poverty and inequality. The method followed is a literature review, organized according to three different acceptations of fairness implied by the “Development” objective of world trade liberalization agenda. A “pro-development” trade liberalization agenda should first correct past unfairness in trade regime, which raises the broad issue of country level trade liberalization’s ex post impact assessment. It should equally reduce poverty, which points toward household level assessment. Last, because development is basically a dynamic process, the distributive-dynamic effects of trade liberalization are also considered. Across all these three definitions of fairness, the development objective of the Doha round proves to be an objective which trade liberalization cannot systematically achieve. A synthesis of our ten main results concludes the paper. _________________________________ (français) Nous dressons dans ce papier un bilan de la littérature sur le lien empirique entre libéralisation commerciale et développement selon trois acceptions différentes du « développement » et de l’impératif de justice que ce terme sous-entend dans les négociations à l’OMC. Rebaptisé « cycle du développement », le cycle de Doha a la première ambition de corriger des injustices passées en matière d’accès au marché, dont ont pâti les pays en développement. Les évaluations ex post et transversales de la libéralisation sur ces pays sont mobilisées pour documenter ce grief. Le cycle de Doha doit également contribuer à réduire la pauvreté des ménages. Les évaluations au niveau des ménages sont ici mobilisées et leurs résultats saillants recensés. Enfin, parce que le « développement » est avant tout un processus, les effets dynamiques de la libéralisation sur les inégalités intertemporelles sont passés en revue. Il ressort de ces trois grandes définitions qu’aucun effet systématique de la libéralisation ne s’observe sur le développement. Ce résultat pourrait expliquer, en partie, la difficulté que rencontrent les négociations à l’OMC dans un cycle au nom chargé de promesses intenables si l’on se restreint à l’état de la connaissance économique sur la question.

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Paper provided by DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation) in its series Working Papers with number DT/2007/11.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt200711
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