Project

Special Economic Zones: A force for good to reduce inequality?

Are Special Economic Zones (SEZs) effective policy instruments to promote economic development and is this development also socially inclusive? A consortium of five research institutions from Africa, Asia and Europe joined forces to understand and quantify the impacts of SEZs and similar policies, focusing on both economic efficiency and inequality.

Start of Project 01/2020
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End of Project 12/2023
Suzhou Industrial Park, Jiangsu Province, China

Many developing country governments consider SEZs and the like (industrial parks, free zones, export-processing zones) the golden way to help their countries attract foreign investment and partake in the benefits from global production networks.

However, reliable evidence on the success (or failure) of SEZs in achieving these goals is sporadic and mixed. And even when SEZs generate overall gains for their host countries, not everyone can benefit equally. Inequality among workers, firms and regions within these countries can rise.

We are a consortium of five research institutions from Africa, Asia and Europe that joined forces to better understand the role of SEZs in the economic development process. As part of a four-year research project (2020-2023), we conduct empirical research using observational data on various angles of this topic.

For more information please visit the project website

www.special-economic-zones.org