The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper uses the 1991 Indian trade liberalization to measure the impact of trade liberalization on poverty, and to examine the mechanisms underpinning this impact. Variation in sectoral composition across districts and liberalization intensity across production sectors allows a difference-in-difference approach. Rural districts, in which production sectors more exposed to liberalization were concentrated, experienced slower decline in poverty and lower consumption growth. The impact of liberalization was most pronounced among the least geographically mobile, at the bottom of the income distribution, and in Indian states where inflexible labor laws impeded factor reallocation across sectors.