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The Impact of Sector‐Specific and Economy‐Wide Policy Reforms on the Agricultural Sector in Brazil: 1980–98


  • Steven M. Helfand
  • Gervásio Castro de Rezende


This article analyzes the impact of policy reforms and changing macroeconomic conditions on the Brazilian agricultural sector. It stresses four issues: events outside of agriculture were central to the performance of the sector and to the timing and sequence of policy reform; reform involved far more than trade liberalization; the impact of reform on input markets and productivity was key for understanding the period; and policy reform had a highly differentiated impact on the sector. As a result of the reforms, agriculture became the most dynamic sector of the Brazilian economy in the 1990s. Policies still in need of reform are identified. (JEL O13, Q18)

Suggested Citation

  • Steven M. Helfand & Gervásio Castro de Rezende, 2004. "The Impact of Sector‐Specific and Economy‐Wide Policy Reforms on the Agricultural Sector in Brazil: 1980–98," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(2), pages 194-212, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:22:y:2004:i:2:p:194-212
    DOI: 10.1093/cep/byh014

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. SM Helfand, 2000. "Interest Groups And Economic Policy: Explaining The Pattern Of Protection In The Brazilian Agricultural Sector," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(4), pages 462-476, October.
    2. Krueger, Anne O & Schiff, Maurice & Valdes, Alberto, 1988. "Agricultural Incentives in Developing Countries: Measuring the Effect of Sectoral and Economywide Policies," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 2(3), pages 255-271, September.
    3. Carter, Michael R. & Barham, Bradford L., 1996. "Level playing fields and laissez faire: Postliberal development strategy in inegalitarian agrarian economies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(7), pages 1133-1149, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pearce, David, 2005. "Review of ACIAR's Research on Agricultural Policy," Impact Assessment Series (IAS) 113220, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.
    2. Castro, P. & Pedroso, R. & Lautenbach, S. & Vicens, R., 2020. "Farmland abandonment in Rio de Janeiro: Underlying and contributory causes of an announced development," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 95(C).
    3. Richards, Peter D., 2012. "Exchange Rates, Soybean Supply Response, and Deforestation in South America," Graduate Research Master's Degree Plan B Papers 138606, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    4. Carlos Ludena, 2010. "Agricultural Productivity Growth, Efficiency Change and Technical Progress in Latin America and the Caribbean," Research Department Publications 4675, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    5. Peter Richards, 2018. "It’s not just where you farm; it’s whether your neighbor does too. How agglomeration economies are shaping new agricultural landscapes," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(1), pages 87-110.
    6. Vanessa Empinotti, 2015. "Beyond the dualities: a nuanced understanding of Brazilian soybean producers," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 7(6), pages 1165-1174, December.
    7. Brooks, Jonathan & Melyukhina, Olga, 2003. "The Effects of Agricultural Policy Reform on Poverty in Brazil," Policy Reform and Adjustment Workshop, October 23-25, 2003, Imperial College London, Wye Campus 15752, International Agricultural Policy Reform and Adjustment Project (IAPRAP).
    8. Sriniketh Nagavarapu, 2008. "Brazilian Ethanol: A Gift or Threat to the Environment and Regional Development?," Discussion Papers 07-039, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy


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