Has Trade Liberalization Improved Food Availability in Developing Countries? An Empirical Analysis

Trade liberalization has been promoted by the World Bank and IMF based on the argument that openness to trade will contribute to economic growth and development. More specifically, trade liberalization was expected to reduce poverty and improve food availability for local consumption, and thereby contributing to the reduction of malnutrition and to the overall efforts of food security of a nation. Despite the lack of consensus, most developing countries took the challenge to liberalize their economies. Quarter of a century later, to our knowledge, there is little or no consensus about the empirical relationship between trade liberalization events and food availability/security. The purpose of this paper is to examine empirically the effect of trade liberalization on food availability in selected developing countries. An econometric analysis of panel data seems to suggest that trade liberalization exerted a negative short run effect on food availability in the sample countries. The overall (or net) results, however, fail to support the view that the medium to long run effect of trade liberalization on food availability is favorable. The results of the study provide further evidence on the ambiguity of the impacts of trade, and trade liberalization in particular, on food security.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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