On the Mechanics of Trade-Induced Structural Transformation
CIRPEE Working Paper No. 05-29
23 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2005
Date Written: October 2005
Gains from trade come a certain degree of specialisation among trade partners. Specialisation in the case of an agriculture-based developing country might be feared to imply a higher reliance than ever on low skill labour. Trade might thus be seen as a step away from the much awaited structural transformation of the economy, which can only come with increases in agricultural productivity. In this paper, we suggest that it needs not be the case. We show that trade openness can in fact trigger the structural transformation of such an agrarian society. It can induce a higher reliance on human capital accumulation and produce the necessary productivity gains for an economy to pick up. Our dynamic general equilibrium model provides a clear illustration of the mechanics behind such structural transformation.
Keywords: Trade openness, skill-supply, agricultural extension services, general equilibrium
JEL Classification: F16, J21, J22, O11, O24
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