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Using survey data to assess the distributional effects of trade policy

  • Guido G. Porto

The author develops and applies a methodology to empirically explore the effects of trade policies on the distribution of income and poverty in developing countries. He uses a methodology based on two links-one connecting trade policies to prices, and another connecting prices to household welfare. The author applies the methodology to the study of the distributional effects of Mercosur on Argentine families. The main finding is that Mercosur benefits the average Argentine household across the entire income distribution. There is evidence of a pro-poor bias of the regional trade agreement: on average, poor households gain more from the reform than middle-income households, whereas the effects on rich families are positive but not statistically significant. Prior to the reform, Argentine trade policy protected the rich over the poor, and after the reform, granted some protection to the poor. As relative pre-Mercosur tariffs are higher on relatively skill-intensive goods, the tariff removals tend to benefit the poor over the rich. These findings indicate that trade reforms may actually help improve the distribution of income and reduce poverty in the country.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3137.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2003
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3137
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  1. Porto, Guido G., 2005. "Informal export barriers and poverty," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 447-470, July.
  2. R. E. Baldwin & G. G. Cain, . "Shifts in U.S. Relative Wages: The Role of Trade, Technology, and Factor Endowments," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1132-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  3. Ravallion, Martin, 1990. "Rural Welfare Effects of Food Price Changes under Induced Wage Responses: Theory and Evidence for Bangladesh," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(3), pages 574-85, July.
  4. Peter C.B. Phillips, 1985. "Time Series Regression with a Unit Root," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 740R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Feb 1986.
  5. Grossman, Gene M & Levinsohn, James A, 1989. "Import Competition and the Stock Market Return to Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1065-87, December.
  6. Edward E. Leamer, 1996. "In Search of Stolper-Samuelson Effects on U.S. Wages," NBER Working Papers 5427, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Won Chang & Winters, L. Alan, 1999. "How regional blocs affect excluded countries - the price effects of MERCOSUR," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2157, The World Bank.
  8. Phillips, P.C.B., 1986. "Understanding spurious regressions in econometrics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 311-340, December.
  9. Budd, John W, 1993. "Changing Food Prices and Rural Welfare: A Nonparametric Examination of the Cote d'Ivoire," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(3), pages 587-603, April.
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  11. Deaton, Angus, 1981. "Optimal Taxes and the Structure of Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(5), pages 1245-60, September.
  12. Jed Friedman & James Levinsohn, 2001. "The Distributional Impacts of Indonesia's Financial Crisis on Household Welfare: "A Rapid Response Methodology"," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 387, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  13. Kloek, T, 1981. "OLS Estimation in a Model Where a Microvariable Is Explained by Aggregates and Contemporaneous Disturbances Are Equicorrelated," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(1), pages 205-07, January.
  14. John Whalley, 1984. "Trade Liberalization among Major World Trading Areas," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262231204, June.
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  16. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, March.
  17. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521319867 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. 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.
  19. Linda Goldberg & Joseph Tracy, 2001. "Exchange Rates and Wages," NBER Working Papers 8137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Benjamin, Dwayne & Deaton, Angus, 1993. "Household Welfare and the Pricing of Cocoa and Coffee in Cote d'Ivoire: Lessons from the Living Standards Surveys," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 7(3), pages 293-318, September.
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  22. Eric Edmonds & Nina Pavcnik, 2002. "Does Globalization Increase Child Labor? Evidence from Vietnam," NBER Working Papers 8760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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