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Distributional issues in check-off funded programs


  • Julian M. Alston

    (Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California-Davis, Davis, California 95616., E-mail:

  • John W. Freebairn

    (Department of Economics, University of Melbourne, Parkville 3052, Australia. E-mail:

  • Jennifer S. James

    (Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802-5601. E-mail:


Agricultural commodity taxes, called check-offs, are used to finance promotion, research, and other activities that can be regarded as industry collective goods. The collection of the check-offs and the programs they are used to fund have implications for the welfare of consumers, other producers, and taxpayers in addition to their effects on those producers who are allowed to vote in the procedures for authorizing the programs. As well as simple fairness or equity considerations, such shifting of the incidence of benefits and costs to others can lead to a divergence between producer and national optimal choices, and hence efficiency losses. From a public policy perspective, then, the implications for others ought to be considered in the design of the enabling legislation, in the evaluation of the specific programs, and in the rules governing the behavior of the agricultural producer groups engaged in commodity check-off programs. [EconLit citations: Q180, Q130, H420]. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Agribusiness 19: 277-287, 2003.

Suggested Citation

  • Julian M. Alston & John W. Freebairn & Jennifer S. James, 2003. "Distributional issues in check-off funded programs," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(3), pages 277-287.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:agribz:v:19:y:2003:i:3:p:277-287
    DOI: 10.1002/agr.10058

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Julian M. Alston & John W. Freebairn & Jennifer S. James, 2001. "Beggar-Thy-Neighbor Advertising: Theory and Application to Generic Commodity Promotion Programs," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(4), pages 888-902.
    2. Hill, D. J. & Piggott, R. R. & Griffith, G. R., 2001. "Profitability of incremental generic promotion of Australian dairy products," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 26(3), pages 253-266, December.
    3. Charles L. Ballard & Don Fullerton, 1992. "Distortionary Taxes and the Provision of Public Goods," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 117-131, Summer.
    4. Freebairn, John W. & Alston, Julian M., 2001. "Generic advertising without supply control: implications of funding mechanisms for advertising intensities in competitive industries," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 45(1), March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Parke E. Wilde, 2007. "Federal Communication about Obesity in the Dietary Guidelines and Checkoff Programs," Chapters,in: Obesity, Business and Public Policy, chapter 9 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Plakias, Zoe T. & Goodhue, Rachael E. & Williams, Jeffrey, 2015. "Producer Attitudes Toward Mandatory Agricultural Marketing Organizations: Evidence from the California Fresh Peach and Nectarine Industry," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205739, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    3. Alston, Julian M. & Pardey, Philip G., 2007. "Public Funding for Research into Specialty Crops," Staff Papers 7312, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
    4. Pardey, Philip G. & Alston, Julian M. & Ruttan, Vernon W., 2010. "The Economics of Innovation and Technical Change in Agriculture," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    5. Pardey, Philip G. & James, Jennifer S. & Alston, Julian M. & Wood, Stanley & Koo, Bonwoo & Binenbaum, Eran & Hurley, Terrance M. & Glewwe, Paul & Mayer, Jorge & Jones, Richard & De Groote, Hugo & Kana, 2007. "Science, Technology and Skills," Reports 136256, University of Minnesota, International Science and Technology Practice and Policy.
    6. Xiao, Zhihua, 2015. "Producer-Funded Innovation: R&D Spillovers across Levy Programs," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205315, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.

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