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Agricultural Price Distortions: Trends and Volatility, Past and Prospective

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  • Anderson, Kym

Abstract

Historically, earnings from farming in many developing countries have been depressed by a pro-urban bias in own-country policies, as well as by governments of richer countries favouring their farmers with import barriers and subsidies. Both sets of policies reduced global economic welfare and agricultural trade, and added to global inequality and poverty. Over the past three decades, much progress has been made in reducing agricultural protection in high-income countries and agricultural disincentives in developing countries. However, plenty of price distortions remain. As well, the propensity of governments to insulate their domestic food market from fluctuations in international prices has not waned. Such insulation contributes to the amplification of international food price fluctuations, yet it does little to advance national food security when food-importing and food-exporting countries equally engage in insulating behaviour. Thus there is still much scope to improve global economic welfare via multilateral agreement not only to remove remaining trade distortions but also to desist from varying trade barriers when international food prices gyrate. This paper summarizes indicators of trends and fluctuations in farm trade barriers before examining unilateral or multilateral trade arrangements, together with complementary domestic measures, that could lead to better global food security outcomes.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9286.

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Date of creation: Jan 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9286

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Keywords: export taxation; Farmer protection; food price spikes; trade policy history;

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  1. Anderson, Kym & Cockburn, John & Martin, Will, 2010. "Would Freeing Up World Trade Reduce Poverty and Inequality? The Vexed Role of Agricultural Distortions," CEPR Discussion Papers 7749, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Anderson, Kym & Lloyd, Peter & MacLaren, Donald, 2008. "Distortions to agricultural incentives in Australia since world war II," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4471, The World Bank.
  3. Hertel, Thomas W. & Beckman, Jayson F., 2010. "Commodity Price Volatility in the Biofuel Era: An Examination of the Linkage between Energy and Agricultural Markets," 2010 Annual Meeting, July 25-27, 2010, Denver, Colorado 60857, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  4. Anderson, Kym & Kurzweil, Marianne & Martin, Will & Sandri, Damiano & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2008. "Measuring distortions to agricultural incentives, revisited," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(04), pages 675-704, October.
  5. Richard J. Sexton, 2013. "Market Power, Misconceptions, and Modern Agricultural Markets," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 95(2), pages 209-219.
  6. Anderson, Kym & Martin, Will, 2011. "Export Restrictions and Price Insulation During Commodity Price Booms," CEPR Discussion Papers 8494, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Martin Ravallion & Shaohua Chen & Prem Sangraula, 2007. "New Evidence on the Urbanization of Global Poverty," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 33(4), pages 667-701.
  8. D. Gale Johnson, 1987. "World Agriculture In Disarray Revisited," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 31(2), pages 142-153, 08.
  9. Ronald Findlay & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2007. "Power and Plenty: Trade, War and the World Economy in the Second Millennium (Preface)," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp205, IIIS.
  10. Gordon H. Hanson, 2012. "The Rise of Middle Kingdoms: Emerging Economies in Global Trade," NBER Working Papers 17961, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Anderson, Kym & Strutt, Anna, 2012. "The changing geography of world trade: Projections to 2030," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 303-323.
  12. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Tiwari, Sailesh & Zaman, Hassan, 2011. "Can we rely on cash transfers to protect dietary diversity during food crises ? estimates from Indonesia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5548, The World Bank.
  13. Anderson, Kym & Strutt, Anna, 2013. "South America’s Contribution to World Food Markets: GTAP Projections to 2030," Working Papers 145369, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
  14. Henning Tarp Jensen & Sherman Robinson & Finn Tarp, 2010. "Measuring Agricultural Policy Bias: General Equilibrium Analysis of Fifteen Developing Countries," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1136-1148.
  15. Ronald Findlay & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2007. "Preface to Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium
    [Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium]
    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
  16. Ronald Findlay & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2007. "Introduction to Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium
    [Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium]
    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
  17. Valenzuela, Ernesto & van der Mensbrugghe, Dominique & Anderson, Kym, 2008. "General equilibrium effects of price distortions on global markets, farm incomes and welfare," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48630, World Bank.
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Cited by:
  1. Orden, David, 2013. "The Changing Structure of Domestic Support and Its Implications for Trade," Commissioned Papers 146657, Canadian Agricultural Trade Policy Research Network.

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