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The Political Economy of Agricultural Policy Reform


  • Rausser, Gordon C
  • Irwin, Douglas A


There exists today an opportunity for significant reform of world agricultural policies. The political-economic question is how this reform can be brought to fruition in the face of powerful domestic interests opposed to such a change. One proposal is to impose external binding constraints under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) code. At the same time, politically acceptable internal mechanisms for actually achieving reform must be sought. This necessitates first identifying whether existing policies are motivated by political economic-seeking transfers (PESTs) or political economic resource transactions (PERTs). Second, three issues related to PEST policies must be addressed: (1) transparency, revealing the winners/losers of existing policies; (2) compensation, for the losers from reform; and (3) institutional design, to ensure the implementation and maintenace of reform. From this analysis, strategies can be designed for internal reform of agricultural policies in individual countries/commodities consistent with external binding constraints. Copyright 1988 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Rausser, Gordon C & Irwin, Douglas A, 1988. "The Political Economy of Agricultural Policy Reform," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 15(4), pages 349-366.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:erevae:v:15:y:1988:i:4:p:349-66

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    Cited by:

    1. Kym Anderson & Gordon Rausser & Johan Swinnen, 2013. "Political Economy of Public Policies: Insights from Distortions to Agricultural and Food Markets," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(2), pages 423-477, June.
    2. Goodhue, Rachael E. & Gruere, Guillaume P. & Klonsky, Karen, 2002. "Public Preferences, Pressure Groups, And Public Policy Regarding Multifunctionality In Agriculture: Compatibility And Conflict," 2002 Annual meeting, July 28-31, Long Beach, CA 19595, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    3. Harvey, David R., 1995. "European Union Cereals Policy: An Evolutionary Interpretation," Australian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 39(03), December.

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