Trade Reform and Poverty in the Philippines: a Computable General Equilibrium Microsimulation Analysis
The paper employs an integrated CGE-microsimulation approach to analyze the poverty effects of tariff reduction. The results indicate that the tariff cuts implemented between 1994 and 2000 were generally poverty-reducing, primarily through the substantial reduction in consumer prices they engendered. However, the reduction is much greater in the National Capital Region (NCR), where poverty incidence is already lowest, than in other areas, especially rural, where poverty incidence is highest. Tariff cuts lower the cost of local production and bring about real exchange rate depreciation. Since the non-food manufacturing sector dominates exports in terms of export share and export intensity, the general equilibrium effects of tariff reduction is an expansion of this sector and a contraction in the agricultural sector. This, in turn, leads to an increase in the relative returns to factors, such as capital, used intensively in the non-food manufacturing sector and a fall in returns to unskilled labor. As rural households depend more on unskilled labor income, income inequality worsens as a result.
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