Most developing countries suffer from a lack of access to information and knowledge. In order to institute long-term, sustainable solutions to move out of poverty, developing countries need to build the capacity to undertake research and develop new scientific knowledge and information. One dimension of that task is to enhance their knowledge of trade and its impacts, as well as their negotiating ability regarding trade agreements.
The Globalization and Markets program seeks to close the knowledge and information gap by engaging in projects designed to enhance developing countries’ research and analytical capacity.
Capacity Building Training Sessions
The Globalization and Markets program has developed a panel of training sessions aimed at providing the most relevant and useful information for various audiences:
- For policymakers/negotiators. A short training session (two days, on average) is designed to explain the kinds of data that are used and needed in trade negotiations and trade policy design. The data’s main limitations, important caveats regarding their utilization, and tricks used in their manipulation are discussed. Similar activities explain modeling tools, including the differences between an econometrics approach and a simulation approach based on partial or general equilibrium models. The pros and cons of different approaches are underscored to explain how to interpret the results. The philosophy of these training sessions is to open the “black box” of trade analysis to non-expert users.
- For support staff. These sessions extend the training listed above to include more operational activities. Training for support staff discusses such issues as: What databases are available for different trade-related topics? What are the caveats in their utilization? What are the most useful trade indicators? Basic quantitative tools are used (based on Excel software) to provide illustrations and to help participants perform basic level analysis on trade agreements. This is typically a one-week training program.
- Advanced training for economists. These sessions focus mainly on the use of single-country (the Robinson-Lofgren IFPRI type model) and the MIRAGE global computable General Equilibrium models. Both address complementary issues. These sessions also delve deeply into tariff analysis and tariff scenario design at the product level, using tools specially developed at IFPRI (e.g. TASTE). These sessions typically last several weeks and include with research support and collaborative works in many cases.
All trainings are supervised by staff who are applied researchers at IFPRI and who have significant training experience.
Enhancing Modeling Capacities on Trade Issues in Developing Countries and the International Policy Analysis Network
To strengthen research and outreach components and to build sustainable analytical capacity in support of implementation of the Doha agreement and other trade negotiations, the Globalization and Markets program has developed an interactive group with trade researchers within selected developing countries—the International Policy Analysis Network (IPAN).
The objectives of IPAN are to:
- Strengthen research capacity of individuals and institutions in developing countries;
- Generate new knowledge in collaboration with partners in developing countries;
- Enhance quality and effectiveness of research by collaborating on innovative research tools and methods; and
- Develop networks and linkages that complement and support research.
IPAN consists of three fundamental activities:
- An intense training network, focusing particularly on the utilization of the MIRAGE global model and the MAcMap-HS6 tariff database, engages in increasing the modeling knowledge and analytic capacity of research groups within targeted countries, where there are pre-existing basic skills and capacity but a current lack of access and experience with global datasets and applied general equilibrium models for trade policy analysis;
- A research collaboration network consisting of partnerships with prominent trade analysts and policy centers within existing research institutions in selected developing countries;
- A series of international public policy conferences bringing together internationally-recognized researchers from developed and developing countries to prepare coordinated specific studies and to engage in policy dialogue with stakeholders, policymakers, and a wide group of analysts.