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Agricultural Price Distortions: Trends and Volatility, Past and Prospective

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  • Kym Anderson

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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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File URL: https://crawford.anu.edu.au/acde/publications/publish/papers/wp2013/wp_econ_2013_01.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2013-01.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pas:papers:2013-01

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

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Thomas W. Hertel & Jayson Beckman, 2011. "Commodity Price Volatility in the Biofuel Era: An Examination of the Linkage Between Energy and Agricultural Markets," NBER Working Papers 16824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua & Sangraula, Prem, 2007. "New evidence on the urbanization of global poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4199, The World Bank.
  8. Kym Anderson & Peter Lloyd & Donald Maclaren, 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Australia Since World War II," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(263), pages 461-482, December.
  9. 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.
  10. Martin, Will & Anderson, Kym, 2011. "Export restrictions and price insulation during commodity price booms," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5645, The World Bank.
  11. 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.
  12. Gordon H. Hanson, 2012. "The Rise of Middle Kingdoms: Emerging Economies in Global Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 41-64, Spring.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
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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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