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Beyond Technocratic Debates: The Significance and Transience of Political Incentives in the Malawi Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP)

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  • Blessings Chinsinga
  • Colin Poulton

Abstract

type="main"> The Malawi FISP resurrected debates about the role of subsidies in African agricultural policy. Recent literature has highlighted the social and political interests that influence the distribution of input-subsidy vouchers, often tending to reduce the efficiency with which such programmes contribute to poverty reduction. Taking the FISP as a case study, this article examines the political incentives that have driven programme implementation. Two streams of rents associated with the FISP were used to generate support for the first-term government of President Mutharika (2005–9), with very different implications for programme efficiency. One then stopped abruptly in 2009. The Malawi case demonstrates both the importance of political incentives in determining subsidy outcomes and how they can change dramatically over time.

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  • Blessings Chinsinga & Colin Poulton, 2014. "Beyond Technocratic Debates: The Significance and Transience of Political Incentives in the Malawi Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP)," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 32(s2), pages 123-150, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:devpol:v:32:y:2014:i:s2:p:s123-s150
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/dpr.12079
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Banful, Afua Branoah, 2011. "Old Problems in the New Solutions? Politically Motivated Allocation of Program Benefits and the "New" Fertilizer Subsidies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 1166-1176, July.
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    4. T.S. Jayne & David Mather & Nicole Mason & Jacob Ricker-Gilbert, 2013. "How do fertilizer subsidy programs affect total fertilizer use in sub-Saharan Africa? Crowding out, diversion, and benefit/cost assessments," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 44(6), pages 687-703, November.
    5. Pan, Lei & Christiaensen, Luc, 2012. "Who is Vouching for the Input Voucher? Decentralized Targeting and Elite Capture in Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1619-1633.
    6. Burke, William J. & Jayne, Thomas S. & Chapoto, Antony, 2010. "Factors Contributing to Zambia's 2010 Maize Bumper Harvest," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 97036, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    7. Minot, Nicholas & Benson, Todd, 2009. "Fertilizer subsidies in Africa: Are vouchers the answer?," Issue briefs 60, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. Nicole M. Mason & T.S. Jayne & Rhoda Mofya-Mukuka, 2013. "Zambia's input subsidy programs," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 44(6), pages 613-628, November.
    9. Mason, Nicole M. & Burke, William J. & Shipekesa, Arthur M. & Jayne, Thomas S., 2011. "The 2011 Surplus in Smallholder Maize Production in Zambia: Drivers, Beneficiaries, & Implications for Agricultural & Poverty Reduction Policies," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 118477, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    10. Rodney Lunduka & Jacob Ricker-Gilbert & Monica Fisher, 2013. "What are the farm-level impacts of Malawi's farm input subsidy program? A critical review," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 44(6), pages 563-579, November.
    11. Kilic, Talip & Whitney, Edward & Winters, Paul, 2013. "Decentralized beneficiary targeting in large-scale development programs : insights from the Malawi farm input subsidy program," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6713, The World Bank.
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    1. repec:eee:jfpoli:v:75:y:2018:i:c:p:1-14 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:ecolec:v:156:y:2019:i:c:p:134-152 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Asfaw, Solomon & Carraro, Alessandro, 2016. "Welfare Effect of Farm Input Subsidy Program in the Context of Climate Change: Evidence from Malawi," 2016 Fifth International Conference, September 23-26, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 246281, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).
    4. Jayne, T.S. & Mason, Nicole M. & Burke, William J. & Ariga, Joshua, 2016. "Agricultural Input Subsidy Programs In Africa: An Assessment Of Recent Evidence," Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research Papers 259509, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security (FSP).
    5. repec:ags:ifaamr:266448 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:wodepe:v:9:y:2018:i:c:p:12-17 is not listed on IDEAS

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