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Transition Economies and Globalization: Food System Asymmetries on the Path to Free Markets


Author Info

  • Kolleen Rask

    (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)

  • Norman Rask

    (Department of Agricultural Economics, The Ohio State University)


Per capita food consumption measured in cereal equivalents follows a well-defined path relative to income in market economies; non-market economies, however, exhibited a very different relationship prior to transition. As part of the transition process, these countries must now remove the asymmetry in the income-food consumption relationship, manifested in diets rich in livestock products, in order to fully integrate their food sectors with global markets. Some countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Estonia) have essentially completed this task and are now poised to once again increase per capita consumption of livestock products as incomes grow. Others (Belarus, Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan) retain some of the pre-transition consumption asymmetry and have not adjusted consumption fully to market economy levels. Livestock production has fallen commensurately with consumption, to levels significantly below historical averages. For a variety of structural, institutional and policy reasons, production asymmetries will be more difficult to correct, so production may not rebound as rapidly as consumption. Moreover, for those countries entering or soon to enter the European Union, the distortions of the European agricultural policies as well as the production constraints imposed by accession, which reflect current low output levels, hurt the prospects for future agricultural recovery. These production recovery problems raise concerns that the declining consumption asymmetry will be replaced with a growing production asymmetry.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0410.

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Date of creation: Dec 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hcx:wpaper:0410

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Keywords: transition economies; food; agriculture; consumption patterns;


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Cited by:
  1. Romano, Donato, 2006. "Agriculture in the Age of Globalization," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25253, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  2. Rask, Kolleen J. & Rask, Norman, 2011. "Economic development and food production-consumption balance: A growing global challenge," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 186-196, April.
  3. Rask, Norman & Rask, Kolleen, 2005. "Economic Development and Food Demand Changes: Production and Management Implications," 15th Congress, Campinas SP, Brazil, August 14-19, 2005 24266, International Farm Management Association.


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