Distributional effects of WTO agricultural reforms in rich and poor countries
"Rich countries' agricultural trade policies are the battleground on which the future of the WTO's troubled Doha Round will be determined. Subject to widespread criticism, they nonetheless appear to be almost immune to serious reform, and one of their most common defences is that they protect poor farmers. Our findings reject this claim. The analysis conducted here uses detailed data on farm incomes to show that major commodity programmes are highly regressive in the US, and that the only serious losses under trade reform are among large, wealthy farmers in a few heavily protected sub-sectors. In contrast, analysis using household data from 15 developing countries indicates that reforming rich countries' agricultural trade policies would lift large numbers of developing country farm households out of poverty. In the majority of cases these gains are not outweighed by the poverty-increasing effects of higher food prices among other households. Agricultural reforms that appear feasible, even under an ambitious Doha Round, achieve only a fraction of the benefits for developing countries that full liberalization promises, but protect the wealthiest US farms from most of the rigors of adjustment. Finally, the analysis conducted here indicates that maximal trade-led poverty reductions occur when developing countries participate more fully in agricultural trade liberalization." Copyright (c) CEPR, CES, MSH, 2007.
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Volume (Year): 22 (2007)
Issue (Month): (04)
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