Trade liberalization, IMF conditionality, and policy substitution in developing countries

Busse, Matthias / Tim Vogel
External Publications (2023)

in: KYKLOS - International Review for Social Sciences, first published 15.12.2023

Open access

Substantial tariff reductions and increased usage of non-tariff measures (NTMs) have been key dynamics of global trade policy in recent decades. We use highly disaggregated data on applied most favored nation tariffs, NTMs, and trade to investigate how International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditionality as a form of external pressure to reduce tariffs contributed to this dynamic in developing countries. Our results show that structural adjustment programs (SAPs) effectively lowered tariffs without increasing the usage of NTMs. A typical three-year program containing tariff conditionality decreased tariff rates in the range of 2.0 to 3.8 percentage points in total. Furthermore, IMF programs reduced NTM initializations significantly. We also show that tariff conditionality was more effective in initiating tariff cuts for countries without previous greater globalization efforts than being a “catalyst” for ongoing liberalization efforts.

About the author

Vogel, Tim


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