Farm price and income policy: lessons from history
U.S. farm commodity support programs encompass nearly three quarters of a century and three quarters of a trillion taxpayer dollars. One dividend from that effort is to learn lessons. Farm commodity programs have steadfastly maintained a primary objective of supporting the incomes of a relatively few producers of a relatively few commodities. Nonetheless, farm programs have not been static but have adapted to changing economic and political parameters. Changes in agricultural policy tend to coincide with extremes in the food supply-demand balance. Farm program income transfers leak from their intended beneficiaries to other asset owners. Economic rents, once institutionalized, retain political momentum that sustains the rents. The rise of pressure from the World Trade Organization to provide only non-market-distorting payments may challenge the continued viability of these lessons; however, the lessons also caution against discounting the extant political influence of the farm lobby. [EconLit N500, Q180]. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume (Year): 24 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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