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How and how far to liberalize a developing economy with informal sector and factor market distortions

Sarbajit Chaudhuri ()

The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, 2003, vol. 12, issue 4, 403-428

Abstract: Whether a liberalizing developing economy should implement the entire WTO-prescribed package, and to what extent this is expedient, are two important questions, especially because the available empirical evidence suggests that developing countries have been facing substantial adjustment costs in their endeavour to implement trade and investment reform. The present paper makes a humble effort to provide answers to the above questions in terms of a three-sector general equilibrium model with informal sectors. Welfare implications of three liberalization policies: inflow of foreign capital, tariff reduction and labour market reform, have first been analysed in a full-employment framework. Later, the paper has been extended into a Harris - Todaro framework with an urban informal sector and capital market distortion. We have shown that welfare consequences of a tariff reform and/or a policy of deregulating the labour market crucially depend on the presence and magnitude of foreign capital in the economy. It is argued here that unless a proper choice among different prescribed policies, compatible with the internal institutional, technological and trade-related characteristics, is made, drastic implementation of reform measures may produce counterproductive results for the welfare of the relevant country.

Keywords: Trade liberalization; general equilibrium; foreign capital; tariff reform; labour market reform; informal sector; non-traded intermediary (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2003
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