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ASEAN FTA, distribution of income, and globalization

By Danupon Ariyasajjakorn, James P. Gander, Somchai Ratanakomut and Stephen E. Reynolds


This paper examines the impact of Free Trade Agreements on income distribution within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and between the members and their trading partners outside ASEAN. The study uses a Computable General Equilibrium model, a modified version of the 57 sector, 87 country, Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) integrated model of national input-output tables, version-6.2 (2001 database) with its reserve matrix facility, to simulate income distribution results as an outcome of certain parameter changes that appear in intra and inter regional trade. Within ASEAN, trade liberalization will stimulate the output of each country within the region according to their comparative advantage. Since trade liberalization tends to increase output of capital-intensive goods more than labor-intensive goods, the less-developed countries within the region tend to get smaller benefits compared to other member countries. In addition, the physical means of production tend to gain more relative to the gains of labor from the FTAs. This tends to widen the income gap between high-income and low-income households within ASEAN. Comparing ASEAN and the developed non-ASEAN countries, an FTA within ASEAN tends to reduce the returns to labor of the developed non-member countries and narrow the income gap between ASEAN, as a whole, and those rich countries since capital-intensive products of developing countries are often labor-intensive goods of developed countries.ASEAN Income distribution Regional integration CGE model

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