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Why Governments Tax or Subsidize Trade: Evidence from Agriculture

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  • Gawande, Kishore
  • Hoekman, Bernard

Abstract

This paper empirically explores the political-economic determinants of why governments choose to tax or subsidize trade in agriculture. We use a new data set on nominal rates of assistance (NRA) across a number of commodities spanning the last five decades for 64 countries. NRAs measure the effect on domestic (relative to world) price of the quantitative and price-based instruments used to regulate agricultural markets. The data set admits consideration of both taxes and subsidies on exports and imports. We find that both economic and political variables play important roles in determining the within-variation in the NRA data. Based on our results we offer a number of data-driven exploratory hypotheses that can inform future theoretical and empirical research on why governments choose to tax or subsidize agricultural products – an important policy question that is also one of the least understood by scholars.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by World Bank in its series Agricultural Distortions Working Paper with number 50300.

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Date of creation: May 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ags:wbadwp:50300

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Keywords: Distorted incentives; agricultural and trade policy reforms; national agricultural development; Agricultural price distortions; political economy of trade policy; Agricultural and Food Policy; International Relations/Trade; F13; F14; Q17; Q18; D72; D78; F11; H23;

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  1. Kym Anderson & Will Martin, 2009. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Asia," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2611, October.
  2. Kym Anderson & Johanna Croser & Damiano Sandri & Ernesto Valenzuela, 2010. "Agricultural Distortion Patterns Since the 1950s: What Needs Explaining?," Centre for International Economic Studies Working Papers 2010-13, University of Adelaide, Centre for International Economic Studies.
  3. Pushan Dutt & Devashish Mitra, 2005. "Political Ideology and Endogenous Trade Policy: An Empirical Investigation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 59-72, February.
  4. Anderson, Kym & Martin, Will & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2006. "The Relative Importance of Global Agricultural Subsidies and Market Access," CEPR Discussion Papers 5569, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Beck, T.H.L. & Clarke, G. & Groff, A. & Keefer , P. & Walsh, P., 2001. "New tools in comparative political economy: The database of political institutions," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125517, Tilburg University.
  6. De Gorter, Harry & Swinnen, Johan, 2002. "Political economy of agricultural policy," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, in: B. L. Gardner & G. C. Rausser (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 36, pages 1893-1943 Elsevier.
  7. Anderson, Kym, 1995. "Lobbying Incentives and the Pattern of Protection in Rich and Poor Countries," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 401-23, January.
  8. Hoekman, Bernanrd & Ng, Francis & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2003. "Reducing agrcultural tariffs versus domestic support : what's more important for developing countries?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2918, The World Bank.
  9. World Bank, 2007. "World Development Indicators 2007," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 8150, October.
  10. Olper, Alessandro & Raimondi, Valentina, 2008. "Consitutional Rules and Agricultural Policy Outcomes," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 43870, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  11. Anderson, Kym & Kurzweil, Marianne & Martin, Will & Sandri, Damiano & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2008. "Measuring Distortions to Agricultural Incentives, Revisited," CEPR Discussion Papers 6924, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Rodnik, Dani, 1992. "Conceptual issues in the design of trade policy for industrialization," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 309-320, March.
  13. Dutt, Pushan & Mitra, Devashish, 2006. "Labor versus capital in trade-policy: The role of ideology and inequality," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 310-320, July.
  14. Rodrik, Dani, 1995. "Political economy of trade policy," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1457-1494 Elsevier.
  15. Dutt, Pushan & Mitra, Devashish, 2002. "Endogenous trade policy through majority voting: an empirical investigation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 107-133, October.
  16. Anderson,Kym (ed.), 2010. "The Political Economy of Agricultural Price Distortions," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521763233, October.
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