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Trade in Services and Human Development: A First Look at the Links


  • Shepherd, Ben

    (Asian Development Bank Institute)

  • Pasadilla, Gloria

    (Asian Development Bank Institute)


Some services directly produce outputs that are important for human development, such as basic human services. Many other services are important inputs into the production and distribution of goods that are necessary for human development purposes. A more efficient services sector should mean that such goods and services can be made available to poor people more cost effectively and more broadly. In line with this reasoning, we find in the data that less restrictive services trade policies are associated with better human development outcomes across a range of sectors. Appropriate services trade liberalization can therefore promote human development directly through improved outcomes, in addition to indirectly effects through the income channel.

Suggested Citation

  • Shepherd, Ben & Pasadilla, Gloria, 2011. "Trade in Services and Human Development: A First Look at the Links," ADBI Working Papers 268, Asian Development Bank Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:adbiwp:0268

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christian Bjørnskov & Axel Dreher & Justina Fischer, 2008. "Cross-country determinants of life satisfaction: exploring different determinants across groups in society," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 30(1), pages 119-173, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Shepherd, Ben & Pasadilla, Gloria, 2012. "Services as a New Engine of Growth for ASEAN, the People’s Republic of China, and India," ADBI Working Papers 349, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    2. Helble, Matthias & Shepherd, Benjamin, 2017. "Trade in Health Products: Reducing Trade Barriers for Better Health," ADBI Working Papers 643, Asian Development Bank Institute.

    More about this item


    trade in services; services sector regulation; human development; poverty reduction;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O24 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Trade Policy; Factor Movement; Foreign Exchange Policy

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