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Trade Liberalisation, Poverty and Inequality in South Africa: A CGE-Microsimulation Analysis

  • Nicolas Hérault

    (Centre d'Économie du Développement (IFReDE-GRES) Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV and Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

This paper aims to study the effects on poverty and income inequality of trade liberalisation in South Africa. This is achieved by using a micro-macro model. The main issue of interest is the effect of international trade on households (especially their income); some changes may contribute to reduce poverty while other changes could work against the poor. The approach presented in this paper relies on combining a macro-oriented computable general equilibrium (CGE) model and a microsimulation (MS) model. Combining these two models the microeconomic effects (on poverty and inequality) of a macroeconomic policy (trade liberalisation) can be analysed. The paper gives details about the MS model, the CGE model and the "top-down" approach used to link the two models. The main concern regarding poor households is whether the decrease in real (or nominal) earnings for formal low-skilled and skilled workers is offset by the upward trend in formal employment levels. This appears to be the case implying a decrease in poverty due to trade liberalisation. Although whites emerge as the main winners, the increase in inter-group inequality is more than compensated by the decrease in intra-group inequality.

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Paper provided by Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne in its series Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series with number wp2005n17.

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Length: 324 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2005n17
Contact details of provider: Postal: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia
Phone: +61 3 8344 2100
Fax: +61 3 8344 2111
Web page: http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/
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  1. John Cockburn, 2004. "Trade Liberalisation and Poverty in Nepal A Computable General Equilibrium Micro Simulation Analysis," Development and Comp Systems 0409012, EconWPA.
  2. Cogneau, Denis & Robilliard, Anne-Sophie, 2000. "Growth, distribution and poverty in Madagascar," TMD discussion papers 61, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. World Bank, 2001. "Global Economic Prospects and the Developing Countries 2001," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14779.
  4. Thurlow, James & van Seventer, Dirk Ernst, 2002. "A standard computable general equilibrium model for South Africa," TMD discussion papers 100, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  5. Arvind Subramanian & Gunnar Jonsson, 2000. "Dynamic Gains From Trade; Evidence From South Africa," IMF Working Papers 00/45, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Nicolas Hérault, 2005. "A Micro-Macro Model for South Africa: Building and Linking a Microsimulation Model to a CGE Model," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2005n16, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  7. Servaas Van Der Berg & Megan Louw, 2004. "Changing Patterns Of South African Income Distribution: Towards Time Series Estimates Of Distribution And Poverty," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(3), pages 546-572, 09.
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