A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development

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The Virtual Institute organized a workshop on the analysis of the impact of trade and trade-related policies on household welfare for participants from three Vi member institutions in Bangladesh, as well as the Ministry of Commerce and the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies, March 29 to April 1.
 
Hosted by Vi core member, Jagannath University (JNU), the four-day workshop was delivered by Vi online course on trade and poverty co-author, Nicolás Depetris Chauvin, of the Haute école de gestion de Genève, with assistance from JNU’s Vi member coordinator, Tareq Arefin.
 
The 23 participants, who also included researchers from two Vi Bangladeshi Think Tank members, the Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute and the Center for Policy Dialogue, said the workshop exceeded their expectations, and enhanced their knowledge of the topic.
 
“The workshop provided participants with substantial level of knowledge and skills on trade and poverty analysis,” reports Arefin.  “It is noteworthy here to mention that the topic of the workshop and materials were very relevant to the socio-economic structure and development challenges of Bangladesh.”
 
The training “aimed to provide participants with the empirical tools needed to assess the impact of trade and trade-related policies on poverty and income distribution, and thus enable them to contribute to the design of pro-poor trade policies in their countries,” said Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku.
 
The topics covered included introduction to trade and poverty methodologies and data analysis; microeconomic foundations of household welfare evaluation and first-order impacts; wage-price and cross-price elasticities for non-traded goods; and second-order effects and further extensions. Morning sessions were dedicated to the theoretical aspects, while the afternoons were spent on hands-on applications using the Stata statistical software. The background theoretical material and empirical applications came from the Vi online trade and poverty course developed by Depetris Chauvin and Argentinian economist, Guido Porto.
 
“The hands-on exercises resolved all my technical barriers to use Stata,” Arefin said. “In the near future my plan is to use the knowledge of this workshop to evaluate the impact of South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) on its member’s poverty reduction status.
 
“After completing the workshop I personally felt more technically equipped to handle the measurement issues regarding poverty and trade dynamics,” he added. 
 
“Participants asked relevant question on how the methods could be applied to understand some of the challenges faced by Bangladesh,” said Depetris Chauvin. “Moreover, I have agreed to co-author with one of the participants a paper on the poverty impacts of Bangladesh joining the ASEAN Free Trade Area using the methodologies featured in the course.”

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