This paper implements and adapts the conceptual framework developed by Winters (2002) that identifies the transmission mechanisms between trade policy reform and household welfare outcomes. We make use of household panel data from Vietnam collected in two years, 1992–93 and 1997–98 that span the very earliest years of the reform period and its immediate after effects.
Poverty dynamics are modeled using changes in consumption expenditure and poverty transition models. The trade effect is captured by a set of variables that are most likely to have an impact on rural poverty, namely prices of staples and employment in the export sector. We show that trade liberalisation has a material and positive effect on rural household welfare and this trade effect is largely transmitted to the poor through the labor market channel.