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The political economy of the food subsidy system in Bangladesh

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  • Richard Adams

Abstract

This article examines the operation of the food subsidy system in Bangladesh from 1980 to 1995 using a political economy perspective. Two political economy concepts - rent-seeking lobbies and rent-seeking bureaucrats/agents - are found to be useful in providing a partial explanation of why this system has failed to benefit the rural poor. However, each of these explanations is incomplete because it fails to consider the large impact that external actors - USAID and the World Bank - have had on the Bangladesh food subsidy system. One way to improve the ability of this system to reach the poor would be to increase the amount of self-targeting in food subsidies by building on the Food-for- Work programme.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Adams, 1998. "The political economy of the food subsidy system in Bangladesh," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(1), pages 66-88.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:35:y:1998:i:1:p:66-88
    DOI: 10.1080/00220389808422555
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Roe, Terry L., 1992. "Political Economy of Structural Adjustment: A General Equilibirum- Interest Group Perspective," Bulletins 7467, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
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    Cited by:

    1. World Bank, 2006. "Repositioning Nutrition as Central to Development : A Strategy for Large Scale Action," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7409.
    2. Sami Bibi & Jean-Yves Duclos, 2007. "Poverty-decreasing indirect tax reforms: Evidence from Tunisia," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(2), pages 165-190, April.
    3. Alderman, Harold, 2002. "Subsidies as a social safety net: effectiveness and challenges," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 25299, The World Bank.
    4. World Bank, 2010. "Egypt, Arab Republic of - Food Subsidies : Benefit Incidence and Leakages," World Bank Other Operational Studies 2913, The World Bank.
    5. Hossain, Naomi, 2005. "Productivity and Virtue: Elite Categories of the Poor in Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 965-977, June.
    6. Babu, Suresh Chandra., 2000. "Impact of IFPRI's policy research on resource allocation and food security in Bangladesh," Impact assessments 13, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Dhehibi, B. & Gil, J. M., 2003. "Forecasting food demand in Tunisia under alternative pricing policies," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 167-186, April.
    8. Margaret Grosh & Carlo del Ninno & Emil Tesliuc & Azedine Ouerghi, 2008. "For Protection and Promotion : The Design and Implementation of Effective Safety Nets," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6582.

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