Trade Liberalization and Spatial Inequality
A Methodological Innovation in a Vietnamese Perspective
The authors calibrate two static computable general-equilibrium (CGE) models with 16 and 5999 representative households. Aggregated and disaggregated household categories are consistently embedded in a 2000 social accounting matrix (SAM) for Vietnam, mapping on a one-to-one basis. Distinct differences in poverty assessments emerge when the impact of trade liberalization is analyzed in the two models. This highlights the importance of modeling micro-household behavior and related income and expenditure distributions endogenously within a static CGE model framework. The simulations indicate that poverty will rise following a revenue-neutral lowering of trade taxes. This is interpreted as a worst-case scenario, which suggests that the government should be proactive in combining trade liberalization measures with a pro-poor fiscal response to avoid increasing poverty in the short to medium term.