Agricultural Development Economics


A survey of findings on the poverty impacts of agricultural trade liberalization
Thomas W. Hertel
Publication date
The purpose of this survey is to review the available empirical evidence on the impacts of agricultural trade liberalization on poverty – considering both the impact of domestic and international liberalization. Since trade liberalization is generally an economywide phenomenon, with tariff cuts occurring across a wide range of commodities, we do not restrict ourselves to episodes where only agricultural trade was liberalized, although emphasis in this survey is given to agricultural trade policies. Furthermore, given the difficulty of isolating the effects of trade policies alone, we will also consider the impact of other types of external shocks which have the effect of changing the relative prices of tradeable and non-tradeable goods. By examining the way in which households adjust to such external shocks, we can learn a great deal about how they would respond to sharp reductions in tariffs, or significant changes in a country’s international terms of trade engendered by multilateral trade liberalization.