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The performance of Bulgarian food markets during reform

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  • Larson, Donald F.
  • Sarris, Alexander

Abstract

Food policy often depends on markets and markets depend on institutions. But how good do institutions have to be before reforms can be launched? Relying on well timed surveys of agricultural prices and a joint study by the Government of Bulgaria and the World Bank on agricultural market institutions, this paper presents evidence that performance in food markets improved following significant policy reforms in Bulgaria, although public institutions remained weak. This suggests that even though strong institutions are preferred to weak ones, it can be costly and impractical to delay policy reforms until work on strengthening institutions is finished. Still, measured performance varied by place and by commodity, suggesting that markets developed at different tempos and that the distribution of benefits from improved markets was uneven. This points to the need to address the costs of adjustment as policies change. The paper introduces a new approach to measure market performance based on composite-error techniques.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4876.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4876

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Keywords: Markets and Market Access; Transport Economics Policy&Planning; Economic Theory&Research; Access to Markets; Agribusiness;

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  9. Simon Maxwell, 2005. "Six characters (and a few more) in search of an author: how to rescue rural development before it's too late," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 32(s1), pages 61-73, 01.
  10. Robert Feinberg & Mieke Meurs, 2005. "Exchange Rate Effects on Domestic Prices in Bulgaria and Poland: Progress in Making Markets?," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 273-288.
  11. Lerman, Zvi, 2001. "Agriculture in transition economies: from common heritage to divergence," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 26(2), pages 95-114, November.
  12. Schmidt, Peter & Lin, Tsai-Fen, 1984. "Simple tests of alternative specifications in stochastic frontier models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 349-361, March.
  13. Klaus Deininger, 2002. "Agrarian reforms in Eastern European countries: lessons from international experience," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(7), pages 987-1003.
  14. Kling, Catherine L. & Sexton, Richard & Carman, Hoy, 1991. "Market Integration, Efficiency of Arbitrage, and Imperfect Competition: Methodology and Application to U.S. Celery," Staff General Research Papers 1609, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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