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The Impact of Trade on Social Development

Authors: Umut Gunduz, Mehtap Hisarciklilar, Tolga Kaya


Studies revealing the positive relationship between trade and income are often criticized with the argument that “development should mean more than rising incomes". Taking this argument as a base and utilizing panel data, Davies and Quinlivan [1] have demonstrated that increases in trade are positively associated with future increases in social welfare as measured by the Human Development Index (HDI). The purpose of this study is twofold: Firstly, utilizing an income based country classification; it is aimed to investigate whether the positive association between foreign trade and HDI is valid within all country groups. Secondly, keeping the same categorization as a base; it is aimed to reveal whether the positive link between trade and HDI still exists when the income components of the index are excluded. Employing a panel data framework of 106 countries, this study reveals that the positive link between trade and human development is valid only for high and medium income countries. Moreover, the positive link between trade and human development diminishes in lower-medium income countries when only non-income components of the index are taken into consideration.

Keywords: Development, Foreign Trade, panel data, HDI

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