Institutional Foundation Of Agricultural Protection: The Case Of Eu-Accession And Agricultural Policy In Eastern European Countries
The literature on political economy analyses of agricultural protection mainly focus on the impact of economic and demographic structures on the level of agricultural protection (Tyers/Anderson 1992, Swinnen 1994, Rausser et al. 1974), although it is commonly accepted that beyond economic and demographic structures political institutions do have an impact on the political power of different interest groups and hence on agricultural policy output (Gardner 1987 as well as Binswanger et al. 1997). The impact of political institutions, e.g. the organization of legislature, election and party systems, on agricultural protection has hardly been taken into account explicitly in theoretical and empirical studies, yet. In this framework the paper investigates to what extent political institutions explain observed variances in the political power of the agrarian population in the ten Central and Eastern European Countries/Candidates (CEEC) applying for an accession of the EU. Moreover, it is analyzed to what extent EU-accession will be politically feasible given the specific political and economic framework conditions of the individual states. In particular, empirical analyses imply the following results: (i) the political power of the agrarian population varies significantly among the analyzed countries ranging from a relative low political weight of 0.115 of the agrarian population in Lativa up to an absolute political dominance of the agrarian population in Slovenia given a weight of 0.887. (ii) The political weights are significantly determined by political institutions. In particular, the more the election systems corresponds to a proportional representation and the more the parliamentary organization allows for a specialized representation of agrarian interests, e.g. bicameralism where a second chamber representing regional interests, and the more efficient the organization of agrarian interests, e.g. existence of a peasent party, the higher is the political weight of the agrarian population. (iii) Analyzing to what extent EU-accession is politically feasible in the CEEC-states we can show that, assuming national financing of EU-policy, EU-accession would be hardly politically feasible in any CEEC-countries. An exception might be seen in Slovenia. Thus political feasibility of EU-accession crucially depends on keeping the rule of financial solidarity. Moreover, assuming a comprehensive pre-accession CAP-reform will take place, possible options to achieve political feasibility in the CEEC-states under these conditions would be undertaking constitutional reforms. In particular, the implementation of electorate system corresponding closer to a proportional representation or the establishment of bicameralism would be, at least theoretically, possible options.
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