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