Trade Policy and Economic Development: How We Learn
Ideas with regard to trade policy and economic development have changed radically since the 1950s. Then and now, it was recognized that trade policy was central to the overall design of policies for economic development. But in the early days, there was a broad consensus that trade policy for development should be based on `import-substitution.' By this was meant that domestic production of import-competing goods should be started and increased to satisfy the domestic market under incentives provided through whatever level of protection against imports, or even import prohibitions, was necessary to achieve it. It was thought that import substitution in manufactures would be synonymous with industrialization, which in turn was seen as the key to deve- lopment. The contrast with views today is striking. It is now widely accepted that growth prospects for developing countries are greatly enhanced through an outer-oriented trade regime and fairly uniform incentives (primarily through the exchange rate) for production across exporting and import competing goods. This paper addresses the changes in thought and policy. What was the contribu- tion of economic research to the sea change in thinking, policy prescriptions, and politicians' acceptance of the need for reform? What sorts of economic research best informed the policy process? In a nutshell, how did we learn? In this paper, I first sketch the initial approach to trade policy in early development research and thought. Next, consideration is given to the evolu- tion of thought, research, and experience with respect to trade and develop- ment over the next several decades, and to the `conventional wisdom' of the 1990s. Finally, the role of research and the sorts of research that proved most fruitful in guiding policy and changing the consensus is considered.
|Date of creation:||Jan 1997|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as American Economic Review, Vol. 87, no. 1 (March 1997): 1-22.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Amartya K. Sen, 1966. "Peasants and Dualism with or without Surplus Labor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 425.
- Murphy, Kevin M. & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1989.
"Industrialization and the Big Push,"
3606235, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Findlay, Ronald, 1984. "Growth and development in trade models," Handbook of International Economics, in: R. W. Jones & P. B. Kenen (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 185-236 Elsevier.
- Bliss, Christopher, 1989. "Trade and development," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 23, pages 1187-1240 Elsevier.
- Pitt, Mark M., 1981. "Smuggling and price disparity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 447-458, November.
- Anne O. Krueger, 1978. "Liberalization Attempts and Consequences," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number krue78-1, 07.
- U. Tun Wai, 1959. "The Relation between Inflation and Economic Development: A Statistical Inductive Study," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 7(2), pages 302-317, October.
- Bardhan, Pranab, 1996.
"Efficiency, Equity and Poverty Alleviation: Policy Issues in Less Developed Countries,"
Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series
qt3jq4h9sc, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Bardhan, Pranab, 1996. "Efficiency, Equity and Poverty Alleviation: Policy Issues in Less Developed Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1344-56, September.
- Pranab Bardhan., 1996. "Efficiency, Equity and Poverty Alleviation: Policy Issues in Less Developed Countries," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C96-065, University of California at Berkeley.
- Rodrik, Rani, 1995. "Trade and industrial policy reform," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 45, pages 2925-2982 Elsevier.
- Anand, Sudhir & Joshi, Vijay, 1979. "Domestic Distortions, Income Distribution and the Theory of Optimum Subsidy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 89(354), pages 336-52, June.
- Spraos, John, 1980. "The Statistical Debate on the Net Barter Terms of Trade between Primary Commodities and Manufactures," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(357), pages 107-28, March.
- Sheikh, Munir A., 1974. "Smuggling, production and welfare," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 355-364, November.
- Jones, Ronald W., 1971. "Effective protection and substitution," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 59-81, February.
- Krueger, Anne O & Schiff, Maurice & Valdes, Alberto, 1988. "Agricultural Incentives in Developing Countries: Measuring the Effect of Sectoral and Economywide Policies," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 2(3), pages 255-71, September.
- Harberger, Arnold C, 1993. "Secrets of Success: A Handful of Heroes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 343-50, May.
- Bela Balassa, 1965. "Tariff Protection in Industrial Countries: An Evaluation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73, pages 573.
- Jagdish N. Bhagwati, 1978. "Anatomy and Consequences of Exchange Control Regimes," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bhag78-1, 07.
- John Williamson, 1994. "The Political Economy of Policy Reform," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 68.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5896. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.