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Agricultural trade distortions during the global financial crisis

  • Kym Anderson
  • Signe Nelgen

Import barriers are often raised during turbulent times, as governments worry about immediate domestic concerns such as unemployment. The recent global financial crisis, however, was accompanied by an exogenous upward spike in the international price of food, which led some countries to raise export barriers, thereby exacerbating both the price spike and the international welfare transfer associated with that change in the terms of trade. As in previous price-spike periods, that response by some food-exporting countries was accompanied by a lowering of import restrictions by numerous food-importing countries, further exacerbating the international price spike. This paper provides new evidence up to 2010 on the extent of the change in domestic relative to international prices in both groups of countries, and compares it with responses during two previous food price-spike periods. It concludes that there is a need for stronger World Trade Organization disciplines on export as well as import restrictions, so as to limit the extent to which beggar-thy-neighbour government responses to international price spikes (up or down) exacerbate those shocks. Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Review of Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 28 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (SUMMER)
Pages: 235-260

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:28:y:2012:i:2:p:235-260
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  1. David S. Jacks & Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2011. "Commodity Price Volatility and World Market Integration since 1700," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 800-813, August.
  2. Anderson, Kym & Kurzweil, Marianne & Martin, Will & Sandri, Damiano & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2008. "Measuring Distortions to Agricultural Incentives, Revisited," CEPR Discussion Papers 6924, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Martin, Will & Anderson, Kym, 2011. "Export restrictions and price insulation during commodity price booms," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5645, The World Bank.
  4. Anderson, Kym & Nelgen, Signe, 2012. "Trade Barrier Volatility and Agricultural Price Stabilization," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 36-48.
  5. Mundlak, Yair & Larson, Donald F, 1992. "On the Transmission of World Agricultural Prices," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 6(3), pages 399-422, September.
  6. Hertel, Thomas & Beckman, Jayson, 2010. "Commodity Price Volatility in the Biofuel Era: An Examination of the Linkage between Energy and Agricultural Markets," GTAP Working Papers 3214, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  7. Ariel Fiszbein & Norbert Schady & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Margaret Grosh & Niall Keleher & Pedro Olinto & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers : Reducing Present and Future Poverty," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2597, August.
  8. Anderson, Kym & Martin, William J., 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Asia," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48557, World Bank.
  9. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521351058 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Minot, Nicholas, 2011. "Transmission of world food price changes to markets in Sub-Saharan Africa:," IFPRI discussion papers 1059, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  11. Jean, Sebastien & Laborde, David & Martin, Will, 2010. "Formulas and flexibility in trade negotiations : sensitive agricultural products in the WTO's Doha agenda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5200, The World Bank.
  12. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Tiwari, Sailesh & Zaman, Hassan, 2011. "Can we rely on cash transfers to protect dietary diversity during food crises ? estimates from Indonesia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5548, The World Bank.
  13. Kym Anderson, 2009. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives : A Global Perspective, 1955-2007," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 9436, August.
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