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A Review of Trade Preference Schemes for the World’s Poorest Countries; ICTSD Programme on Competitiveness and Development

The origin of this study lies in the concerns of many observers about the relatively weak trade performance of the least developed countries (LDCs). The performance has been disappointing not only to the growth of global trade but also in relation to the performance of many developing countries. There is a serious danger of marginalization of LDCs in global trade, and that LDCs will not take advantage of potentially significant contributions of trade to domestic growth and to the elimination of poverty...


How India’s Small Towns Live (or Die),

India is currently one of the fastest growing economies. This progress is to be celebrated but also needs to be critically understood. Is this growth seen throughout the country? Have small and medium towns participated in the development? Paromita Shastri addresses these questions in her book How India’s Small Towns Live (or Die)analyzing an extensive study of 30 small towns spread over the states of Rajasthan, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, and Bihar...


Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty

One of the most hotly debated topics in international development is global poverty and policies that need to be implemented to solve it. Eliminating poverty and hunger by 2015 is the number one goal of Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Up until now, billions of dollars have been devoted to eradicate poverty in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Although some progress has been achieved, the problem remains and needs a rethinking of the nature of poverty to implement better and effective policies...


Trade Policy Disaster: Lessons from the 1930s

The 2008 financial crisis has been the worst economic contraction since the 1930s. To boost economic activity and curb rising unemployment, governments have employed various measures from expenditure spending to quantitative easing. One bright side is that we do not observe the rampant use of protectionism as we did during the Great Depression. In Trade Policy Disaster, which is based on the 2010 Ohlin Lectures, Douglas Irwin gleans lessons from the 1930s and cautions policymakers today against the use of shortsighted measures like protectionist policies in combating economic crises...


Exorbitant privilege: the rise and fall of the dollar

On February 4, 1965, the French president General Charles de Gaulle, addressing a gathering of journalists, delivered a visceral attack on the special status of the dollar under the Bretton Woods system. “The fact that many states accept dollars as equivalent to gold,” he said, “In order to make up for the deficits of [the] American balance of payments has enabled the United States to be indebted to foreign countries free of charge. Indeed, what they owe those countries, they pay ... in dollars that they themselves can issue as they wish. ...


The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy

Dani Rodrik's The Globalization Paradox is one of the most challenging books on globalisation to have appeared recently - and there have been many books! In this book, quoting from Steven Pearlstein's review in the Washington Post,1 Professor Rodrik addressed the following questions, among others: "What if most of the benefits of the free flow of goods and capital across borders have already been realized, and that any gains from additional globalization will be outweighed by the additional costs in terms of unemployment, reduced wages, lost pensions and depopulated communities.


India: A New Player in Asian Production Network?

This volume1 is a most welcome and important contribution to several issues of major policy and academic interest in Asia: the role, importance and implications of in the global economy, why India (and South Asia more generally) is lagging behind East Asia in participation of International production networks (IPNs) and, whether the situation will change as rising real wages in East Asia provide an opportunity for India and other South Asian economies to leverage their labour cost...


Fighting Irrelevance: The Role of Regional Trade Agreements in International Production Networks in Asia – A Study of Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade,

Regional trade agreements (RTAs) became the chosen approach to trade liberalization during the last fifteen years. Asian countries quickly made up for the slow start and now contribute about half of all trade agreements in force globally. In Asia, the trade agreements complement market driven integration of so-called international production networks (IPNs) that have a much longer history...


Peddling Protectionism: Smoot-Hawley and the Great Depression

As world trade imbalances reawaken fears of protectionism, Douglas Irwin reminds us that there was a time when protectionist was a compliment not an insult. Prior to the Great Depression Republican Senator Smoot extolled high trade barriers as “a fundamental and essential principle of . . . economic life.” Ironically Smoot’s handiwork, the 1930 Smoot-Hawley tariff, has since become a cultural symbol for the superiority of free trade...