External Liberalization, Economic Performance and Social Policy

External Liberalization, Economic Performance and Social Policy

Lance Taylor

Print publication date: 2007

ISBN: 9780195145465

Publisher: Oxford University Press


Reports on the effects of the fundamental economic policy shift in transition and developing countries after the mid‐1980s. Since that time, the “external liberalization” of international trade and finance has been among the principal forces for increasing global integration. This wave of deregulation was the central feature of globalization for the non‐industrialized world. The chapters in this book look at the experiences of nine countries – Argentina, Columbia, Cuba, India, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, and Zimbabwe – and the often‐negative effects that liberalization has had on them. At best, the liberalization packages generated modest improvements in economic growth and distributional equity; at worst, they have been associated with increasing income inequality and slower growth, even in the presence of rising capital inflows. The country studies suggest that the effects of liberalization on growth, employment, and income distribution emerge from a complex set of forces on both the supply and demand sides of the economy. Redistribution of income and production across industries (typically from those producing traded goods to those producing nontraded goods) and groups within the labor force (typically from unskilled to skilled), as well as adverse shifts in “macro” prices such as real wage, interest, and exchange rates are part of the process. This degree of complexity and most of the unfavorable effects of deregulation were not anticipated, and are only now being widely recognized. The implication is that the liberalization strategy needs to be rethought. The contributors include policy recommendations for often‐overlooked problems and challenges posed by globalization.