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.
Kimberly Beaton, Aliona Cebotari, and Andras Komaromi
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
We revisit the relationship between international trade, economic growth and inequality with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. The paper combines two approaches: First, we employ a cross-country panel framework to analyze the macroeconomic effects of international trade on economic growth and inequality considering the strength of trade connections as well as characteristics of countries' export markets and products. Second, we consider event studies of past episodes of trade liberalization to extract general lessons on the impact of trade liberalization on economic growth and its structure and inequality. Both approaches consistently point to two broad messages: First, trade openness and connectivity to the center of the trade network has substantial macroeconomic benefits. Second, we do not find a statistically significant or economically sizable direct impact of trade on overall income inequality.