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Does trade reduce poverty ? a view from Africa

  • Le Goff, Maelan
  • Singh, Raju Jan

Although trade liberalization is being actively promoted as a key component in development strategies, theoretically, the impact of trade openness on poverty reduction is ambiguous. A more liberalized trade regime is argued to change relative factor prices in favor of the more abundant factor. If poverty and relative low income stem from abundance of labor, greater trade openness should lead to higher labor prices and a decrease in poverty. However, should the re-allocation of factors be hampered, the expected benefits from freer trade may not materialize. The theoretical ambiguity on the effects of openness is reflected in the available empirical evidence. This paper examines how the effect of trade openness on poverty may depend on complementary reforms that help a country take advantage of international competition. Using a non-linear regression specification that interacts a proxy of trade openness with proxies of various country structural specificities and a panel of 30 African countries over the period 1981-2010, the analysis finds that trade openness tends to reduce poverty in countries where financial sectors are deep, education levels high and governance strong.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6327.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2013
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6327
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  1. Sylviane Guillaumont Jeanneney & Kangni Kpodar, 2008. "Financial Development and Poverty Reduction; Can there Be a Benefit without a Cost?," IMF Working Papers 08/62, International Monetary Fund.
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  7. Yifei Huang & Raju Jan Singh, 2011. "Financial Deepening, Property Rights and Poverty; Evidence From Sub-Saharan Africa," IMF Working Papers 11/196, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Roberto Chang, & Linda Kaltani & Norman Loayza, 2006. "Openness Can be Good for Growth: The Role of Policy Complementarities," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 373, Central Bank of Chile.
  9. Douglas A. Irwin & Marko Tervio, 2000. "Does Trade Raise Income? Evidence from the Twentieth Century," NBER Working Papers 7745, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Liang, Zhicheng, 2006. "Threshold Estimation on the Globalization-Poverty Nexus: Evidence from China," Working Paper Series RP2006/57, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  11. Ha Yan Lee & Luca Antonio Ricci & Roberto Rigobon, 2004. "Once Again, is Openness Good for Growth?," NBER Working Papers 10749, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Spilimbergo, Antonio & Londono, Juan Luis & Szekely, Miguel, 1999. "Income distribution, factor endowments, and trade openness," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 77-101, June.
  13. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2003. "Halving Global Poverty," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
  14. 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.
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  16. Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Can high-inequality developing countries escape absolute poverty?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1775, The World Bank.
  17. Vamvakidis, Athanasios, 2002. " How Robust Is the Growth-Openness Connection? Historical Evidence," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 57-80, March.
  18. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125426 is not listed on IDEAS
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