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Understanding the Determinants of Structural Change in World Food Markets

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  • Thomas W. Hertel
  • Zhi Wang
  • Wusheng Yu

Abstract

American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 80(December):1052-1062. This study assesses the interaction between climate change and agricultural trade policies. We distinguish between two dimensions of agricultural trade policy: market insulation and subsidy levels. Building on the previous work of Tsigas, Frisvold and Kuhn (1997) we find that, in the presence of current levels of agricultural subsidies, increased price transmission --as called for under the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture-- reduces global welfare in the wake of climate change. This is due to the positive correlation between productivity changes and current levels of agricultural support. Increases in subsidized output under climate change tend to exacerbate inefficiencies in the global agricultural economy in the absence of market insulation. However, once agricultural subsidies have also been eliminated, price transmission via the global trading system contributes positively to economic adaptation under climate change. products. This may partially explain the relatively slow growth of world grain import demand in recent years. In addition, bilateral agreements with East Asia, NAFTA, and the evolution of the CAP, have all had important impacts on the structure of world food and agricultural trade. The objective of this paper is to assess the relative role of each of the major forces-- consumer demand, factor accumulation, transport costs, and policy change--in driving changes in the composition of world food trade in 1980-1995. To do so, we employ a modified version of the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) model of world trade which permits us to isolate the contribution of each of these related factors to the changing composition of world food trade in a general equilibrium context. We evaluate the relative role of each of these factors by simulating the model backwards in time, from 1995 to 1980 under different assumptions. This general approach, termed “backcasting” (i.e. backwards fore
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Suggested Citation

  • Thomas W. Hertel & Zhi Wang & Wusheng Yu, 1998. "Understanding the Determinants of Structural Change in World Food Markets," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1051-1061.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:80:y:1998:i:5:p:1051-1061
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