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Why Do Members of Congress Support Agricultural Protection?

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  • Bellemare, Marc F.
  • Carnes, Nicholas

Abstract

It seems paradoxical that developed countries continue subsidizing agriculture even though their agricultural sectors have been declining in relative importance since the middle of the 20th century. What drives support for agricultural protection in developed countries? We answer this question by testing three competing hypotheses about what drives support for agricultural protection in the US: (i) legislator preferences, (ii) electoral incentives, or (iii) lobbying. Using data on the roll call votes of the members of the 106th through the 110th Congresses (1999-2009) and the scores given to each legislator by the Farm Bureau, our findings suggest electoral incentives explain a great deal of the variation in support for agricultural protection, but that legislator preferences and lobbying play a role, too. Moreover, legislator preferences and electoral incentives appear to be substitutes for one another. Why does Congress support agricultural protection? Because many members have electoral incentives to—and because many of those who do not still have other personal or strategic interests at stake.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 47629.

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Date of creation: 16 Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:47629

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Keywords: Agricultural Policy; Agricultural Protection; Farm Bill; Congress; Voting; Lobbying;

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References

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  1. Barrett, Christopher B., 1999. "The microeconomics of the developmental paradox: on the political economy of food price policy," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 159-172, March.
  2. Marc F. Bellemare & Christopher B. Barrett & David R. Just, 2013. "The Welfare Impacts of Commodity Price Volatility: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 95(4), pages 877-899.
  3. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  4. Jeroen Klomp & Jakob de Haan, 2013. "Conditional Election and Partisan Cycles in Government Support to the Agricultural Sector: An Empirical Analysis," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 95(4), pages 793-818.
  5. Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
  6. Bellemare, Marc F., 2011. "Rising food prices, food price volatility, and political unrest," MPRA Paper 31888, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Allen, Douglas W, 1991. "Homesteading and Property Rights; or, "How the West Was Really Won."," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(1), pages 1-23, April.
  8. Orden, David & Paarlberg, Robert & Roe, Terry, 1999. "Policy Reform in American Agriculture," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226632643, February.
  9. Bellemare, Marc F. & Barrett, Christopher B. & Just, David R., 2010. "The Welfare Impacts of Commodity Price Fluctuations: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia," MPRA Paper 24457, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Abmann, Christian & Henning, Christian H.C.A. & Krampe, Eva, 2012. "Constitutional Rules, Informal Institutions and Agricultural Protection in Developing and Industrial Countries: Theory and Empirical Evidence," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 124885, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  11. Vesenka, Mary H., 1989. "Economic interests and ideological conviction : A note on PACs and agricultural acts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 259-263, October.
  12. De Gorter, Harry & Swinnen, Johan, 2002. "Political economy of agricultural policy," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, Elsevier, in: B. L. Gardner & G. C. Rausser (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 36, pages 1893-1943 Elsevier.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. New Working Paper: Why Do Members of Congress Support Agricultural Protection?
    by ? in Marc F. Bellemare on 2013-06-24 10:00:00
  2. Yours Truly in the Pacific Standard
    by ? in Marc F. Bellemare on 2013-07-03 10:00:00
  3. Yours Truly in the Globe and Mail
    by ? in Marc F. Bellemare on 2013-07-11 10:00:00
  4. New Working Paper: Why Do Members of Congress Support Agricultural Protection?
    by Marc F. Bellemare in Marc F. Bellemare on 2013-06-24 09:00:45
  5. Yours Truly in the Pacific Standard
    by Marc F. Bellemare in Marc F. Bellemare on 2013-07-03 09:00:53
  6. Yours Truly in the Globe and Mail
    by Marc F. Bellemare in Marc F. Bellemare on 2013-07-11 09:00:40
  7. Why is the agricultural sector still protected in the US?
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-08-21 15:28:00
  8. Of Gold Standards and Golden Means
    by Marc F. Bellemare in Marc F. Bellemare on 2013-09-09 09:00:24
  9. Of Gold Standards and Golden Means
    by ? in Marc F. Bellemare on 2013-09-09 10:00:00

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