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Global Trade Models and Economic Policy Analyses: Relevance, Risks and Repercussions for Africa

  • Ben Hammouda, Hakim
  • Osakwe, Patrick N.

Computable general equilibrium (CGE) models are widely used for trade policy analyses and recommendations. Simulation results from these models have also been used as a basis for offering advice to African countries on what positions to take in multilateral trade negotiations. There is however increasing discomfort with the use of these models for policy recommendations, especially in Africa. In this paper we compare the results of several CGE studies that examined the impact of potential Doha Round reforms on Africa and demonstrate that the results differ drastically both in terms of magnitude and direction. Part of the discrepancies in results can be explained by differences in database, model structure, and choice of parameters. Others are, however, difficult to explain because several studies either do not report key assumptions made or do not provide a clear description of how their framework differs from those in the literature. We also show that the modelling approach and the database used in most CGE studies do not take account of key features of African economies that have serious implications for the impact of trade reforms on Africa. Finally, we outline potential consequences of the misuse of CGE models for policy evaluation and suggest pitfalls to avoid if CGE model results are to be taken seriously by policy makers in Africa.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 1851.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:1851
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  1. Anderson, Kym & Martin, Will & van der Mensbrugghe, Dominique, 2005. "Would Multilateral Trade Reform Benefit Sub-Saharan Africans?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5049, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Liu, Jing & Channing Arndt & Thomas Hertel, 2003. "Parameter Estimation and Measures of Fit in A Global, General Equilibrium Model," GTAP Working Papers 1200, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  3. Tom Achterbosch & Hakim Ben Hammouda & Patrick Osakwe & Frank van Tongeren, 2004. "Trade liberalisation under the Doha Development Agenda Options and consequences for Africa," International Trade 0407013, EconWPA.
  4. Mohamed Hedi Bchir & Yvan Decreux & Jean-Louis Guerin & Sebastien Jean, 2002. "MIRAGE, un modele d'equilibre general calculable pour l'evaluation des politiques commerciales," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 89-90, pages 109-153.
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  9. Gene M. Grossman (ed.), 1992. "Imperfect Competition and International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262570939, June.
  10. Emran, M. Shahe & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2005. "On selective indirect tax reform in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 599-623, April.
  11. Michael Keen & Thomas Baunsgaard, 2005. "Tax Revenue and (or?) Trade Liberalization," IMF Working Papers 05/112, International Monetary Fund.
  12. Douglas C. Lippoldt & Przemyslaw Kowalski, 2005. "Trade Preference Erosion: Expanded Assessment of Countries at Risk of Welfare Losses," OECD Trade Policy Papers 20, OECD Publishing.
  13. Antoine Bouët & Jean-Christophe Bureau & Yvan Decreux & Sébastien Jean, 2004. "Multilateral Agricultural Trade Liberalization: The Contrasting Fortunes of Developing Countries in the Doha Round," Working Papers 2004-18, CEPII research center.
  14. Diao, Xinshen & Diaz-Bonilla, Eugenio & Robinson, Sherman & Orden, David, 2005. "Tell me where it hurts, an' I'll tell you who to call," MTID discussion papers 84, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  15. McKitrick, Ross R., 1998. "The econometric critique of computable general equilibrium modeling: the role of functional forms," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 543-573, October.
  16. Barbara J. Spencer & James A. Brander, 1982. "Tariff Protection and Imperfect Competition," Working Papers 517, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  17. Valenzuela, Ernesto & Hertel, Thomas & Keeney, Roman & Reimer, Jeff, 2005. "Assessing Global CGE Model Validity Using Agricultural Price Volatility," GTAP Working Papers 1875, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  18. Swamy, Anand V., 1997. "A simple test of the nutrition-based efficiency wage model," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 85-98, June.
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