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Are “Decoupled” Farm Program Payments Really Decoupled? An Empirical Evaluation


  • Barry K. Goodwin
  • Ashok K. Mishra


This analysis utilizes farm-level data to evaluate the extent to which U.S. farm program benefits, particularly direct payments, bring about distortions in production. The issue is important in WTO negotiations and in the debate over the distortionary effects of decoupled (“green-box”) payments. Our results suggest that the distortions brought about by AMTA payments, though statistically significant in some cases, are very modest. Larger effects are implied for market loss assistance payments. Probit models suggest that AMTA payments do not influence the likelihood that agents will acquire more land. Our results are reinforced using an aggregate county-level acreage model. Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Barry K. Goodwin & Ashok K. Mishra, 2006. "Are “Decoupled” Farm Program Payments Really Decoupled? An Empirical Evaluation," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 88(1), pages 73-89.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:88:y:2006:i:1:p:73-89

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 917-962.
    2. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    3. repec:feb:artefa:0087 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2009. "Can Field Experiments Return Agricultural Economics to the Glory Days?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1259-1265.
    5. Laura Schechter, 2007. "Theft, Gift-Giving, and Trustworthiness: Honesty Is Its Own Reward in Rural Paraguay," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1560-1582, December.
    6. List John A., 2007. "Field Experiments: A Bridge between Lab and Naturally Occurring Data," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-47, April.
    7. Levitt, Steven D. & List, John A., 2009. "Field experiments in economics: The past, the present, and the future," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-18, January.
    8. Robert G. Chambers & John Quiggin, 2002. "Optimal Producer Behavior in the Presence of Area-Yield Crop Insurance," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(2), pages 320-334.
    9. Knoeber, Charles R & Thurman, Walter N, 1994. "Testing the Theory of Tournaments: An Empirical Analysis of Broiler Production," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(2), pages 155-179, April.
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