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The microeconomics of the developmental paradox: on the political economy of food price policy

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  • Barrett, Christopher B.

Abstract

A longstanding puzzle in comparative economics is the 'developmental paradox', the tendency for government support for agriculture to increase with national income and to decrease with the proportion of economic activity and of the population in agriculture. This paper offers a microeconomic explanation for that puzzle. It establishes analytically the microeconomic basis for coalition alignments with respect to food price policy, then numerically simulates the comparative static effects of alternative food policies on coalition structure. A parsimonious household model applied to a heterogeneously endowed society demonstrates how variation in individual welfare effects might beget distinct coalitions in the debate over food price policy and how those policies are inextricably linked to land, population, and technology policies in food agriculture. Moreover, coalition alignments on particular policy debates are path-dependent. In particular, food price policy creates its own political support. © 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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  • Barrett, Christopher B., 1999. "The microeconomics of the developmental paradox: on the political economy of food price policy," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 159-172, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agecon:v:20:y:1999:i:2:p:159-172
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    1. The Developmental Paradox
      by Marc F. Bellemare in Marc F. Bellemare on 2013-06-05 14:00:12

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    1. Kułyk Piotr, 2012. "The imperfections of a credit market in agriculture," Management, De Gruyter Open, vol. 16(1), pages 250-263, May.
    2. Pieters, Hannah & Swinnen, Johan, 2016. "Trading-off volatility and distortions? Food policy during price spikes," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 27-39.
    3. Khaleque, Khaleque & Suborna, Bubarna & Baqui, Baqui, 2008. "Impact of Social Safety Net Programs In Seasonal Deprivation," MPRA Paper 22045, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Bellemare, Marc F. & Carnes, Nicholas, 2015. "Why do members of congress support agricultural protection?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 20-34.
    5. Olper, Alessandro, 2007. "Land inequality, government ideology and agricultural protection," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 67-83, February.
    6. Watson, Derrill D. II, 2015. "The Political Economy of Food Price Policy: A Synthesis," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212714, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    7. Myers, Robert J., 2006. "On the costs of food price fluctuations in low-income countries," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 288-301, August.
    8. Marc F. Bellemare, 2014. "Comment on "Food Price Spikes, Price Insulation, and Poverty"," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Food Price Volatility, pages 339-344 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. McBride, Linden, 2014. "Exploring food commodity price risk preferences among Tanzanian households," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 172437, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    10. 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.
    11. Czyżewski, Andrzej & Grochowska, Reanata & Józwiak, Wojciech & Kosior, Katarzyna & Kułyk, Piotr & Mirkowska, Zofia, 2014. "Development trends in agricultural sector and policies − challenges for the future (Synthesis)," Multiannual Program Reports 206066, Institute of Agricultural and Food Economics - National Research Institute (IAFE-NRI).

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