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The Effects of the Colombian Trade Liberalization on Urban Poverty

  • Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg
  • Nina Pavcnik

We examine whether the Colombian trade reform can explain any of Colombia's decline in urban poverty between 1984 and 1995. Our approach focuses on short- and medium- run channels through which trade reform could affect poverty. Despite the chronological coincidence of the poverty reduction with the trade reforms over this period, we do not observe any evidence of a link between poverty and tariff reductions operating through the labor income channel. Our descriptive analysis suggests that although poverty is predominately concentrated among individuals living in households with unemployed head, it is non-negligible among the employed and especially those working in the informal sector and those paid below minimum wage. Industry affiliation also plays a role. However, we find no evidence that the trade reforms reduced poverty via any of the above variables in a significant way. We cannot rule out the possibility that trade liberalization has contributed to the poverty reduction through general equilibrium effects, and in particular through its potential role in lowering the prices of goods consumed primarily by the poor.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11081.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11081.

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Date of creation: Jan 2005
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Publication status: published as Goldberg, Pinelope Koujianou and Nina Pavcnik. "Trade, Wages, And The Political Economy Of Trade Protection: Evidence From The Columbia Trade Reforms," Journal of International Economics, 2005, v66(1,May), 75-105.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11081
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  1. Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2004. "Trade, Inequality, and Poverty: What Do We Know? Evidence from Recent Trade Liberalization Episodes in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 10593, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Attanasio, Orazio & Goldberg, Pinelopi K. & Pavcnik, Nina, 2004. "Trade reforms and wage inequality in Colombia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 331-366, August.
  3. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1995. "Foreign Direct Investment and Relative Wages: Evidence from Mexico's Maquiladoras," NBER Working Papers 5122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1997. "Poverty among children and the elderly in developing countries," Working Papers 226, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  5. Feenstra, R.C. & Hanson, G.H., 1995. "Foreign Investment, Outsourcing and Relative Wages," Department of Economics 95-14, California Davis - Department of Economics.
  6. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou & Pavcnik, Nina, 2003. "The Response of the Informal Sector to Trade Liberalization," CEPR Discussion Papers 3874, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. L. Alan Winters & Neil McCulloch & Andrew McKay, 2004. "Trade Liberalization and Poverty: The Evidence So Far," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 72-115, March.
  8. Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2001. "Trade Protection and Wages: Evidence from the Colombian Trade Reforms," NBER Working Papers 8575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Adriana Kugler, 1999. "The Impact of Firing Costs on Turnover and Unemployment: Evidence from the Colombian Labour Market Reform," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 389-410, August.
  10. William Maloney & Jairo Mendez, 2004. "Measuring the Impact of Minimum Wages. Evidence from Latin America," NBER Chapters, in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 109-130 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Porto, Guido G., 2006. "Using survey data to assess the distributional effects of trade policy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 140-160, September.
  12. Juan Carlos Hallak & James Levinsohn, 2004. "Fooling Ourselves: Evaluating the Globalization and Growth Debate," NBER Working Papers 10244, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "How Did the World's Poorest Fare in the 1990s?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 47(3), pages 283-300, September.
  14. Ravallion, Martin, 2004. "Competing concepts of inequality in the globalization debate," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3243, The World Bank.
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