Assessing the Effects of Trade Liberalisation: A Critical Examination
Computable general equilibrium (CGE) models of world trade, often presented as demonstrating the benefits of trade liberalization, are now making rather less promising forecasts than they used to just a few years ago. The estimated benefits are not only smaller in the aggregate, but also skewed toward the developed countries; the expected contribution of trade liberalization to economic development and poverty alleviation is extremely limited. Calculation of the benefits to be expected of services liberalization, trade facilitation measures, and long-term productivity gains from trade liberalization remains problematical and speculative. The empirical limitations of CGE forecasts stem from broader theoretical weaknesses: the models are largely locked within a static framework and, oddly, assume that trade policy causes no changes in total employment, upwards or downwards (??). Models built on more adequate theories, which have only recently begun to appear, could offer a very different picture of the effects of trade liberalization.
Trade Liberalization, Computable General, Equilibrium Models, Poverty
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