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

View all Research Theme's publications

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IDS In Focus Policy Briefing

Changing the Aid for Trade Debate towards Content

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing 6 (2009)

The Aid for Trade (AfT) debate has mostly focused on how to implement AfT programmes (aid architecture), rather than on what to do and the specific content of these programmes. Exports from developing countries, especially from sub-Saharan Africa, continue to be concentrated in few commodities, and diversification into new exports and markets remains poor. More details

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing

Trade Credit

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing 7.8 (2009)

Accessing trade finance is not the most serious problem for established horticulture and garment exporters in sub-Saharan Africa – exchange rate fluctuations and falling demand are more important. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Transnational Corporations and Development Policy: Critical Perspectives

Few issues in development raise as much heat as the impact of transnational corporations (TNCs) on the South. However, the exact nature of the relationship between foreign direct investment and development remains unclear both conceptually and empirically. More details

Reclaiming Feminism: Gender and Neoliberalism

Reclaiming Feminism: Gender and Neoliberalism

IDS Bulletin 39.6 (2008)

The focus of this IDS Bulletin is particularly apposite at a time when much-cherished axioms are being re-inspected and where new possibilities and directions are so badly needed. More details

IDS publications on international development research

India, Brazil, South Africa and China: Is the South Big Enough?

11th Annual Conference on Global Economic Analysis (2008)
Non-IDS publication

Poverty Dynamics During Trade Reform: Evidence from Rural Vietnam

Review of Income and Wealth 54.2 (2008)

Published by the Review of Income and Wealth, this Journal article implements and adapts the conceptual framework developed by Winters (2002) that identifies the transmission mechanisms between trade policy reform and household welfare outcomes. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Assessing the Impact of the EU-Cariforum EPA

Technical Background Paper for the World Bank LAC Region Trade Report More details

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