Remittances, Trade Liberalisation, and Poverty in Pakistan: The Role of Excluded Variables in Poverty Change Analysis

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Author: 
Rizwana Siddiqui
A. R. Kemal
Description: 
PIDE Working Papers 2006:1
JEL codes: 
Organisation: 
Abstract: 
This study attempts to assess the impact of two shocks - trade liberalisation and a decline in remittances from abroad- on poverty in Pakistan using a CGE framework. It is found that tariff reduction in the absence of a decline in remittances reduces poverty, as measured by the head count, poverty gap, and severity ratios (FGT indicators) in both the rural and urban areas of Pakistan. In terms of welfare, all households appear to gain. The results show that the gain in welfare is larger for urban households than for rural households. We conclude from this that trade liberalisation reduces the gap between urban and rural households. In a second set of experiments, it was found that trade liberalisation in the presence of a decline in remittances reduces welfare in urban households but rural household still show an increase over the base year. According to all FGT indicators, poverty increases in urban households but not in rural households. The combined stock is more harmful to households in the urban areas than in the rural areas. However, this welfare gain and poverty reduction in the presence of trade liberalisation only. Aggregate statistics show that the negative impact of remittance decline dominates the positive impact of trade liberalisation in urban areas. On the other hand, in the case of rural areas, the positive impact of trade liberalisation dominates the negative impact of decline in remittances. It shows that the decline in remittance inflows is a major contributory factor in explaining the increase in poverty in Pakistan.This study attempts to assess the impact of two shocks - trade liberalisation and a decline in remittances from abroad- on poverty in Pakistan using a CGE framework. It is found that tariff reduction in the absence of a decline in remittances reduces poverty, as measured by the head count, poverty gap, and severity ratios (FGT indicators) in both the rural and urban areas of Pakistan. In terms of welfare, all households appear to gain. The results show that the gain in welfare is larger for urban households than for rural households. In addition, poverty reduces by a larger percentage in urban households than in rural households. We conclude from this that trade liberalisation reduces the gap between urban and rural households. In a second set of experiments, it was found that trade liberalisation in the presence of a decline in remittances reduces welfare in urban households but rural household still show an increase over the base year. According to all FGT indicators, poverty increases in urban households but not in rural households. The combined stock is more harmful to households in the urban areas than in the rural areas. However, this welfare gain and poverty reduction in the presence of trade liberalisation only. Aggregate statistics show that the negative impact of remittance decline dominates the positive impact of trade liberalisation in urban areas. On the other hand, in the case of rural areas, the positive impact of trade liberalisation dominates the negative impact of decline in remittances. It shows that the decline in remittance inflows is a major contributory factor in explaining the increase in poverty in Pakistan.
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