Trade Liberalization and Development: Welfare Implications of Outward-Orientation in the West African Economic and Monetary Union

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Economics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Charles Rambeck, Economics


Despite an abundance of research on the topic, conclusive evidence has yet to be found supporting a positive relationship between trade liberalization and development. Testing various measures of policy orientation in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), this study uses a panel data series and Pooled Least Squares regression to estimate the effects of outward-orientation on trade growth, and trade growth on economic growth. In addition to using a traditional measure of economic welfare, GNI per capita, this paper operationalizes and applies broader measures of welfare derived from Catholic social teaching. The evidence suggests that greater trade leads to higher income and faster growth. However in terms of human dignity and the conditions necessary for the common good, the results are mixed. Most of the countries continued to improve in these terms, but not at rates higher than pre-liberalization.