Trade and Growth

Achieving economic growth requires countries to reach out to other markets through trade. Yet many developing countries face significant internal and external barriers to trade, and typically have exports that are highly-concentrated in natural resources and low-skill manufacturing products.

Ships arriving into Lagos's Apapa and Tin Can ports pass by locals enjoying a weekend at the beach. Credit: Jacob Silberberg / Panos

IDS research on trade and growth aims to assist developing countries in understanding the impact of trade policy. Our work seeks to understand how to design trade strategies that are more conducive to economic growth and development.

We work on areas including:

  • Export diversification – seeking to understand how firms can export a more diverse range of products. Find out more about our work on export diversification.
  • Trade preferences – exploring the impact of regional integration and unilateral preferences on developing countries.
  • South-South trade – understanding the impact of trade between countries in the global South, and how this can be expanded.
  • Regulations, standards and trade – assessing the impact of food safety, plant and animal health and other technical requirements on exports from developing countries.
  • Effectiveness of trade-related technical assistance – identifying ways in which the effectiveness of technical assistance, aimed at enhancing the export performance of developing countries, can be improved.
  • Food price volatility – exploring how fluctuations in world market food prices are transmitted to local markets in developing countries. Find out more about our work on food price volatility.

Achieving economic growth requires countries to reach out to other markets through trade. Yet many developing countries face significant internal and external barriers to trade, and typically have exports that are highly-concentrated in natural resources and low-skill manufacturing products.

 

IDS research on trade and growth aims to assist developing countries in understanding the impact of trade policy. Our work seeks to understand how to design trade strategies that are more conducive to economic growth and development.

 

We work on areas including:

 

  • Export diversification – seeking to understand how firms can export a more diverse range of products. 
  • Trade preferences – exploring the impact of regional integration and unilateral preferences on developing countries. 
  • South-South trade – understanding the impact of trade between countries in the global South, and how this can be expanded. 
  • Regulations, standards and trade – assessing the impact of food safety, plant and animal health and other technical requirements on exports from developing countries.
  • Effectiveness of trade-related technical assistance – identifying ways in which the effectiveness of technical assistance, aimed at enhancing the export performance of developing countries, can be improved.
Food price volatility – exploring how fluctuations in world market food prices are transmitted to local markets in developing countries.

Business Innovation Facility

The Business Innovation Facility (BIF) aims to catalyse market systems change in order to benefit poor producers, consumers and employees More details

China-UK Cooperation on African Trade and Investment for Poverty Reduction

This IDS led project aims to evaluate changing trade and investment relations between China, and also the UK, with Kenya and South Africa and the consequences of these changes. More details

Data Systems and Economywide Modeling to Support Policy Analysis in Ethiopia

This project aims to create and strengthen analytical and practical capacity of policy analysis in Ethiopia and to support the government in its endeavours to meet the challenges of the MDGs. More details

Economic Integration and External Shocks: Modeling Outcomes for India

Studying the impact of trade policy changes and other changes in the international economic environment. More details

Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) Review

A general review of the negotiating process and costs of EPAs and their impact on development. More details

Firm Behaviour and the Introduction of New Products: Evidence using a Firm Micro Data Set in Brazil

The objective of this research is to contribute to the understanding of one of the most important processes required for achieving sustained economic growth in emerging and developing countries: the process of product and export diversification. More details

Research on the Poverty Impact of Market and Enabling Business Environment Programmes in Kenya

To what extent does private sector development work in Kenya contribute to a reduction in poverty and inequality? This review aims to assess the evidence base for DFID Kenya’s Wealth Creation Pillar programming. More details

The Impact of the Crisis on World Prices and Trade

This project used a global trade model to gauge the impact of a slowdown in economic activity in the OECD on trade performance, world prices and aggregate welfare in the rest of the world. More details

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IDS publications on international development research

Pruning India's Sensitive Lists under SAFTA: A Comment

Economic & Political Weekly 46.16 (2011)

This article extends the economic rationale to prune India’s sensitive lists under the South Asian FTA as discussed in Taneja et al (2011), supplemented by additional reasons to develop well-functioning global production networks. The framework discussed here can be used for other SAARC nations as well. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Sustainability and Resilience of Global Water and Food Systems: A Political Analysis of the Interplay Between Security, Resource Scarcity, Political Systems and Global Trade

Food Policy 36.S1 (2011)

In this paper the example of cocoa production in Ghana is used to explore how the narratives portraying African farmers have changed over the last 70 years. These evolving narratives are explored through the notion of a 'good farmer'. More details

IDS publications on international development research

What is the Evidence of the Impact of Tariff Reductions on Employment and Fiscal Revenue in Developing Countries?

The goal of DFID's Systematic Review programme is to provide policy makers and practitioners with a robust assessment of the evidence base as they develop policies and programmes. More details

Non-IDS publication

Income Distribution Trends and Future Food Demand

Biological Sciences 365.1554 (2010)

This paper surveys the theoretical literature on the relationship between income distribution and food demand, and identifies main gaps of current food modelling techniques that affect the accuracy of food demand projections. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Fairtrade Bananas: A Global Assessment of Impact

When the idea of conversion of the conventional banana trade to a more sustainable system under the Fairtrade label was first raised in the Windward Islands in the late 1990s, there was much scepticism about the viability of the idea. More details

IDS Research Report

Value Chains, Donor Interventions and Poverty Reduction: A Review of Donor Practice

IDS Research Report 63 (2010)

Value chain interventions are increasingly popular amongst donors aiming to promote market-oriented growth and poverty reduction. More details

IDS Research Report

State-Business Relations and Investment in Egypt

IDS Research Report 61 (2009)

This study shows that informal relationships between key policymakers and investors have played an important role in raising levels of investment and fostering economic growth. More details

IDS Research Summary

Multinational Value Chains, Small and Medium Enterprises, and ‘Pro-Poor’ Policies: A Review of Donor Practice

IDS Research Summary of IDS Research Report 63 (2009)

Many donors, governments and private companies now use value chain approaches in their efforts to promote market-oriented growth and poverty reduction. More details

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