The imapcts of trade policy reforms on the Sri Lankan economy

Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Maria J. Willumsen

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Hassan Arvin-Rad

Third Advisor's Name

Ali Cem Karayalcin

Date of Defense



This dissertation presents an analysis of the impacts of trade policy reforms in Sri Lanka. A Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model is constructed with detailed description of the domestic production structure and foreign trade. The model is then used to investigate the effects of trade policy reforms on resource allocation and welfare.

Prior to 1977, Sri Lanka maintained stringent control over its imports through rigid quantitative restrictions. A new economic policy reform package was introduced in 1977, and it shifted Sri Lanka's development strategy toward an export oriented policy regime. The shift of policy focus from a restrictive trade regime toward a more open trade regime is expected to have a significant impact on the volume of external trade, domestic production structure, allocation of resources, and social welfare.

Simulations are carried out to assess the effects of three major policy reforms: (1) a devaluation of the Sri Lanka rupee, (2) a partial or a complete elimination of export duties, and (3) a devaluation-cum-removal of export duties.

Simulation results indicate that the macroeconomic impact of a devaluation-cum-removal of export duties can be substantial. They also suggest that the resource-pull effects of a devaluation and a devaluation-cum-export duty removal policy are significant. However, the model shows that a devaluation combined with an export duty reduction is likely to be a superior strategy.



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