Predicting the Poverty Impacts of Trade Reform
Thomas W. Hertel
Purdue University - Center for Global Trade Analysis; Center for Robust Decisionmaking on Climate & Energy Policy (RDCEP)
Jeffrey J. Reimer
Oregon State University - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
November 3, 2004
World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 3444
An important area of research in recent years involves assessing the microeconomic implications of macro-level policies - particularly those related to international trade. While a wide range of research methodologies are available for assessing the microeconomic incidence of micro-policies, as well as for assessing the effect of macro-level policies on markets and broad groups of households, there is a gap when it comes to eliciting the disaggregated household and firm level effects of trade policies. Recent research addresses this knowledge gap and the present survey offers an overview of this literature.
The preponderance of the evidence from the studies encompassed by this survey points to the dominance of earnings-side effects over consumption-side effects of trade reform. This is problematic, since household surveys are notable for their underreporting of income. From the perspective of the poor, it is the market for unskilled labor that is most important. The poverty effects of trade policy often hinge crucially on how well the increased demand for labor in one part of the economy is transmitted to the rest of the economy by way of increased wages, increased employment, or both. Further econometric research aimed at discriminating between competing factor mobility hypotheses is urgently needed.
This paper - a product of the Trade Team, Development Research Group - is part of a larger effort in the group to assess the poverty impacts of trade policies.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 42working papers series
Date posted: December 3, 2004
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