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Trade Liberalization and Poverty in Nepal: an Applied General Equilibrium Analysis

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  • Prakash Raj Sapkota
  • John Cockburn

Abstract

Nepal aggressively liberalized its foreign trade during the 1990s. This paper attempts to estimate the impact of trade liberalization on household welfare and poverty in Nepal through the construction of a regional CGE model. The model disaggregates factors of production - capital, land, and labor - by region (urban, Terai and hills/mountains) in order to establish direct links between sector of activity, factor remuneration, and household income. In particular, certain activities are more intensive in factors from a given region (e.g. the manufacturing sector is more intensive in urban factors of production and the agriculture sector is more intensive in Terai factor of production). Regional factor remuneration in turn maps into regional household income. We find that trade liberalization reduces the nominal returns to urban factors of production in comparison with rural factors of production, resulting in a reduction in the relative income of urban households. Rural and urban households consume roughly the same share of industrial goods, but rural households consume relatively more agricultural goods and fewer services. As the fall in consumer prices in the latter two sectors are similar, there is little rural-urban difference in the variation in consumer price indices. Consumer prices generally fall in roughly the same proportion as nominal incomes such that there are negligible welfare changes. However, poverty falls substantially, with the greatest impact in rural Terai, followed by the rural hills and the mountain region, and least in urban areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Prakash Raj Sapkota & John Cockburn, 2008. "Trade Liberalization and Poverty in Nepal: an Applied General Equilibrium Analysis," Working Papers MPIA 2008-13, PEP-MPIA.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:mpiacr:2008-13
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John Cockburn, 2002. "Trade Liberalisation and Poverty in Nepal: A Computable General Equilibrium Micro Simulation Analysis," CSAE Working Paper Series 2002-11, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    2. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-766, May.
    3. Chia, Ngee-Choon & Wahba, Sadek & Whalley, John, 1994. "Poverty-Reducing Targeting Programmes: A General Equilibrium Approach," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 3(2), pages 309-338, October.
    4. Dawkins, Christina & Srinivasan, T.N. & Whalley, John, 2001. "Calibration," Handbook of Econometrics,in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 58, pages 3653-3703 Elsevier.
    5. Decaluwe, B. & Patry, A. & Savard, L. & Thorbecke, E., 1999. "Poverty Analysis Within a General Equilibrium Framework," Cahiers de recherche 9909, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Dorothée Boccanfuso & Bernard Decaluwé & Luc Savard, 2008. "Poverty, income distribution and CGE micro-simulation modeling: Does the functional form of distribution matter?," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 6(2), pages 149-184, June.
    2. Dorothée Boccanfuso & Luc Savard, 2011. "The Food Crisis and its Impacts on Poverty in Senegal and Mali: Crossed Destinies," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 29(2), pages 211-247, March.
    3. McDonald, Scott & Punt, Cecilia, 2005. "General equilibrium modelling in South Africa: What the future holds," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 44(1), March.
    4. John Gilbert, 2008. "Trade Policy, Poverty, and Income Distribution in CGE Models: An Application to SAFTA," Working Papers 2008-02, Utah State University, Department of Economics, revised 19 Dec 2008.
    5. Dorothée Boccanfuso & Antonio Estache & Luc Savard, 2008. "Intra-Country Distributional Impact of Policies to Fight Climate Change: A Survey," Working Papers ECARES 2008_038, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    6. Pauw, Kalie, 2005. "Forming Representative Household and Factor Groups for a South African SAM," Technical Paper Series 15620, PROVIDE Project.
    7. Dorothée Boccanfuso & Antonio Estache & Luc Savard, 2008. "Distributional impact of global warming environmental policies: A survey," Cahiers de recherche 08-14, Departement d'Economique de l'École de gestion à l'Université de Sherbrooke.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Computable general equilibrium modeling; international trade; poverty; Nepal;

    JEL classification:

    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • D58 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models
    • E27 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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