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Determinants of Agricultural Protection in an International Perspective: The Role of Political Institutions

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  • Henning, Christian H.C.A.
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    Abstract

    Abstract—This paper studies the role of political institutions in determining the political success of agriculture in avoiding taxation or attracting government transfers in developing and industrialized countries, respectively. The model is based on a probabilistic voting environment, where in industrialized countries rural districts are less ideologically committed than urban districts, while in developing countries urban districts are less ideologically committed than rural districts. As a consequence, in industrialized (developing) countries rural (urban) districts are pivotal in determining the coalition that obtains a majority, whereas urban (rural) districts are pivotal within the majority itself. In bargaining at the legislature, this generates a conflict between the government, who will tend to favor rural (urban) districts, and its parliamentary majority, that will be dominated by urban (rural) concerns. As district size grows and the electoral system converges to a pure proportional system, both of these biases are attenuated. Overall, an opposite nonlinear relationship between district size and agricultural subsidies on the one hand and district size and taxation on the other hand follows, i.e. in developing countries taxation of agriculture first increases and then decreases with district magnitude, while in industrialized countries agricultural subsidization first increases and then decreases with district magnitude. Moreover, the impact of district magnitude on the level of agricultural subsidization is attenuated in presidential when compared to parliamentary systems, while the level of agricultural taxation is amplified in presidential systems. Empirical results from cross-country analysis including 37 countries over 20 years mainly support our theory.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by European Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium with number 43872.

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    Date of creation: 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:eaae08:43872

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    Keywords: Political Institutions; Agricultural Protection; Probabilistic Voting Model; International Relations/Trade;

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    1. Beghin, John C. & Fafchamps, M., 1995. "Constitution, Institutions, and the Political Economy of Farm Policies. What Empirical Content?," Staff General Research Papers 1620, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    2. Hans P. Binswanger & Klaus Deininger, 1997. "Explaining Agricultural and Agrarian Policies in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(4), pages 1958-2005, December.
    3. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 2002. "Do constitutions cause large governments? Quasi-experimental evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 908-918, May.
    4. Gardner, Bruce L, 1987. "Causes of U.S. Farm Commodity Programs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(2), pages 290-310, April.
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    6. Alessandro Olper, 2001. "Determinants of Agricultural Protection: The Role of Democracy and Institutional Setting Alessandro Olper," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 75-92.
    7. Gary J. Miller, 1997. "The Impact of Economics on Contemporary Political Science," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1173-1204, September.
    8. Krueger, Anne O & Schiff, Maurice & Valdes, Alberto, 1988. "Agricultural Incentives in Developing Countries: Measuring the Effect of Sectoral and Economywide Policies," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 2(3), pages 255-71, September.
    9. Swinnen, Johan F.M., 1991. "A Positive Theory Of Agricultural Protection," Working Papers 6851, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    10. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Roberto Perotti & Massimo Rostagno, 2002. "Electoral Systems And Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(2), pages 609-657, May.
    11. Swinnen, Johan F. M. & Banerjee, Anurag N. & Gorter, Harry de, 2001. "Economic development, institutional change, and the political economy of agricultural protection: An econometric study of Belgium since the 19th century," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 26(1), pages 25-43, October.
    12. Beghin, John C. & Foster, William E. & Kherallah, Mylene, 1996. "Institutions and Market Distortions: International Evidence for Tobacco," Staff General Research Papers 1569, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:
    1. Henning, Christian H.C.A. & Struve, Carsten & Brockmeier, Martina, 2008. "The logic of the CAP: Politics or Economics?," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48639, World Bank.
    2. Olper, Alessandro & Falkowski, Jan & Swinnen, Johan F.M., 2009. "Democracy and Agricultural Protection: Parametric and Semi-parametric Matching Estimates," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49313, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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