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Political Crisis and Suspension of Duty-free Access in Madagascar: Assessment of Impacts on the Garment Industry

Discussion Papers


July 2013 (revised in August 2013)


The export-oriented garment industry in Madagascar has displayed robust growth, thus both contributing to the economy and creating formal employment opportunities. However, it experienced a critical situation after the political turmoil that occurred in 2009. Our investigation using the trade data demonstrates that suspension of duty-free access to the US market (AGOA) resulting from the turmoil had a greater impact on exports, 64%–78% reduction, than the turmoil itself. Our original factory-level data demonstrates that AGOA suspension increased the probability of closure by 57.8% for the factories supplying exclusively to US market, and reduced 6405 jobs for low-skilled positions during the post turmoil period. The factory-level adverse impacts are much less than those on export value at the industry level because of the maintained duty-free access to EU, which has provided an alternative market. It suggests that if EU also had cancelled duty-free access, adverse impacts would have been enormous. Given the general pattern of comparative advantage in low-income countries, unplanned cancellation of duty-free access for them hurts labor-intensive industries and low-skilled workers.

Keywords: Manufacturing Exports, Garment Industry, Political Crisis, Duty-free Access, Employment, Madagascar
JEL classification: D21, F14, F16, J63, L67, O55

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Please note that discussion papers are works in various stages of progress and most have not been edited and proofread and may contain errors of fact or judgment. Revised versions of these papers may subsequently appear in more formal publication series. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s). The IDE does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included and accepts no responsibility for any consequences arising from its use.