The distributional impact of trade on human flourishing in a developing country
TWCF Number
Project Duration
December 1 / 2022
- November 30 / 2024
Core Funding Area
Individual Freedom and Free Markets
Amount Awarded

* A Grant DOI (digital object identifier) is a unique, open, global, persistent and machine-actionable identifier for a grant.

Rainer Josef Maria Heufers
Institution Yayasan Cipta Sentosa

Arianto Arif Patunru
Institution The Australian National University

The benefits of free trade on welfare and prosperity are well-established, both theoretically and empirically, but as research shows that gains are not well-distributed among different economic agents — especially in richer countries — doubt about its impact is growing. There is a resurgence of industrial policy competing with the paradigm of free trade. Developing or Low- and Middle- Income Countries (LMICs), which often face weak institutions and domestic ‘government failures’, may be more reliant on free markets before they can turn to industrial policy to address any ‘market failures’. Indonesia offers a unique case study, as it followed an export-driven model of economic development similar to that of South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore in the late 20th century, but has since turned more protectionist and relied on tariffs and non-tariff measures to protect its domestic markets.

This research project, directed by Rainer Heufers with the co-direction of Arianto Arif Patunru, seeks to examine the impact of free trade on human flourishing in Indonesia. The aim is to produce studies analyzing the impact of free trade on the natural environment, gender inequalities, employment and wages, public health, and poverty and income inequality. Data from national socioeconomic surveys and trade data will be analyzed, as well as subnational regulations and tariffs and non-tariff measures. 

Key research questions to be addressed by the project are:

  • How does trade affect human welfare indicators in the context of a LMIC?
  • How are trade effects distributed among different socio-economic groups, and how do they affect public health and the natural environment?
  • Does trade affect a variety of Indonesian regions differently and is this comparable to other LMICs?
Opinions expressed on this page, or any media linked to it, do not necessarily reflect the views of Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc. Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc. does not control the content of external links.
Person doing research
Projects &
Explore the projects we’ve funded. We’ve awarded hundreds of grants to researchers and institutions worldwide.

Projects & Resources