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Trade Liberalisation And The Poverty Of Nations

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Trade Liberalisation And The Poverty Of Nations

A. P. Thirlwall , Penélope Pacheco-López

A.P. Thirlwall, Professor of Applied Economics, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK and Penélope Pacheco-López, Economic Consultant

2008 264 pp Hardback 978 1 84720 822 4
2009 Paperback 978 1 84844 814 8
ebook isbn 978 1 84844 401 0

Hardback £78.00 on-line price £70.20

Paperback £27.00 on-line price £21.60


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A concise and eloquent critique of free trade.

‘Free-trade fundamentalism is gradually making way for a more nuanced and historically well-informed understanding of the role that trade policy plays in economic development. Thirlwall and Pacheco-López provide an excellent review of the relevant literature as well as a sophisticated critique of the earlier, simplistic views. As they explain, it is the details – the timing, sequencing, and context – that determine whether liberalization will succeed.’
– Dani Rodrik, Harvard University, US


Further information

Orthodox trade and growth theory, and the world’s multilateral development institutions, extol the virtues of trade liberalisation and free trade for more rapid economic development of poor countries. However, the contemporary reality and history seem to tell a different story. The world economy has experienced an unprecedented period of trade liberalisation in the last thirty years, and yet international and global inequality is widening; domestic poverty (outside of China) is increasing; poor countries’ exports have grown more slowly than their imports leading to balance of payments crises, and the so-called globalising economies of the world (excluding China and India) have fared no better, and in some cases worse, than those countries that have not liberalised so extensively. This book argues that orthodox theory is based on many unreal assumptions, and that there are sound economic arguments for selective protection of industrial activities in the early stages of economic development. The historical evidence of the now-developed countries also illustrates this fact.

With supporting empirical evidence, this book provides a powerful theoretical critique of orthodox trade theory. It will be of great interest to students taking courses in international trade and development economics, as well as to professional economists and policymakers in international development institutions.

Full table of contents

Contents: Preface 1. The Theory and Measurement of Trade Liberalisation 2. Trade Liberalisation, Trade Performance and Economic Growth 3. Trade Liberalisation and International Inequality 4. Trade Liberalisation, Poverty and Domestic Inequality 5. Trade Strategy and Economic Development Bibliography Index

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