Used-Clothes Exports to the Third World: Economic Considerations

DEVELOPMENT POLICY REVIEW, Vol. 14, No. 4, Dec. 1996

Posted: 5 Jun 1997  

Arne Bigsten

University of Gothenburg

Rick Wicks

Goteborg University

Abstract

Used clothes have to go somewhere, and commercial used clothes exports from industrial countries to LDCs have been growing rapidly, leading to public alarm. Used clothes have also been used as a form of commodity aid, similar to food aid. But used clothes are quite different from food, and deserve separate study. Both theoretical and empirical effects of commercial used clothes imports are examined, with somewhat ambiguous results: empirical studies show generally positive effects, while theory raises the possibility of significant damage. Subsidized deliveries targeted to those too poor to enter the market might reduce the risk of damage, but are more subject to neglect, theft and corruption. In addition, the cost of subsidies is generally greater than the welfare gain, and the cost of well-targeted subsidies would be greater still. The exception is catastrophe aid, in which supply would not exist without subsidized delivery.

JEL Classification: O19

Suggested Citation

Bigsten, Arne and Wicks, Rick, Used-Clothes Exports to the Third World: Economic Considerations. DEVELOPMENT POLICY REVIEW, Vol. 14, No. 4, Dec. 1996. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=10966

Arne Bigsten

University of Gothenburg ( email )

Box 640
SE 405 30 Gothenburg
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.hgu.gu.se/item.aspx?id=2619

Rick Wicks (Contact Author)

Goteborg University ( email )

Box 640
SE 405 30 Goeteborg
Sweden
+46/31/773-4197 (Phone)
+46/31/773-2503 (Fax)

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