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The Challenge of Reducing International Trade and Migration Barriers

Kym Anderson () and L. Winters

No 6760, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: While barriers to trade in most goods and some services including capital flows have been reduced considerably over the past two decades, many remain. Such policies harm most the economies imposing them, but the worst of the merchandise barriers (in agriculture and textiles) are particularly harmful to the world’s poorest people, as are barriers to worker migration across borders. This paper focuses on how costly those anti-poor trade policies are, and examines possible strategies to reduce remaining distortions. Two opportunities in particular are addressed: completing the Doha Development Agenda process at the World Trade Organization (WTO), and freeing up the international movement of workers. A review of the economic benefits and adjustment costs associated with these opportunities provides the foundation to undertake benefit/cost analysis required to rank this set of opportunities against those aimed at addressing the world’s other key challenges as part of the Copenhagen Consensus project. The paper concludes with key caveats and suggests that taking up these opportunities could generate huge social benefit/cost ratios that are considerably higher than the direct economic ones quantified in this study, even without factoring in their contribution to alleviating several of the other challenges identified by that project, including malnutrition, disease, poor education and air pollution.

Keywords: Doha Development Agenda; international migration; trade policy reform (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F02 F13 F15 F17 F22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-int and nep-mig
Date: 2008-03
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