Vulnerable Places, Vulnerable People

Vulnerable Places, Vulnerable People

Trade Liberalization, Rural Poverty and the Environment

Edited by Jonathan A. Cook, Owen Cylke, Donald F. Larson, John D. Nash and Pamela Stedman-Edwards

While some argue that trade liberalization has raised incomes and led to environmental protection in developing countries, others claim that it generates neither poverty reduction nor sustainability. The detailed case studies in this book demonstrate that neither interpretation is universally correct, given how much depends on specific policies and institutions that determine ‘on-the-ground’ outcomes. Drawing on research from six countries around the developing world, the book also presents the unique perspectives of researchers at both the world’s largest development organization (The World Bank) and the world’s largest conservation organization (World Wildlife Fund) on the debate over trade liberalization and its effects on poverty and the environment.


Warren Evans and David Reed

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, development economics, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics, environmental geography


In today’s increasingly integrated global economy, trade liberalization plays a key role in extending the dynamics of international markets to developing countries. Trade can catalyze economic growth but, like all forms of economic activity, trade-induced growth can also create new pressures on natural resources and on the rural poor who depend on those resources for their livelihoods. It is therefore not surprising that controversy has followed the widespread liberalization of economic policies and the dramatic expansion of trade in recent years. This book is a joint effort on the part of The World Bank and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to move the discussion about trade, poverty and the environment beyond the theoretical and rhetorical and to shed light on the real impacts of trade liberalization. The conviction of both organizations that development must address the issues of environmental protection and poverty alleviation has brought us together in this effort to better understand the impacts of trade. The lessons drawn from the case studies in this book provide a critical first step in developing the appropriate policies and responses needed to ensure that trade, along with other aspects of globalization, plays a positive role in promoting truly sustainable development. The innovative aspect of these six case studies lies in their effort to examine both the immediate and longer-term impacts of trade on some of the most vulnerable people and places in the world. This collaborative research project started with the recognition that trade, like any economic activity, has consequences for...