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Global Distortions to Agricultural Markets: New Indicators of Trade and Welfare Impacts, 1955 to 2007

  • Lloyd, Peter J.
  • Croser, Johanna L.
  • Anderson, Kym

Despite reforms over the past quarter-century, world agricultural markets remain highly distorted by government policies. Traditional indicators of those price distortions such as the nominal rate of assistance and consumer tax equivalent provide measures of the degree of intervention, but they can be misleading as indicators of the true effects of those policies. By drawing on recent theoretical literature that provides indicators of the trade- and welfare-reducing effects of price and trade policies, this paper develops more-satisfactory indexes for capturing distortions to agricultural incentives. It then exploits the Agricultural Distortion database recently compiled by the World Bank to generate estimates of them for both developing and high-income countries over the past half century, based on a sample of 75 countries that together account for all but one-tenth of the world’s population, GDP and agricultural production. While they are still only partial equilibrium measures, they provide a much better approximation of the true trade and welfare effects of sectoral policies without needing a formal model of global markets or even price elasticity estimates.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/48049
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Paper provided by Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society in its series 2009 Conference (53rd), February 11-13, 2009, Cairns, Australia with number 48049.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aare09:48049
Contact details of provider: Postal: AARES Central Office Manager, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU, Canberra ACT 0200
Phone: 0409 032 338
Web page: http://www4.agr.gc.ca
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  1. Hiau Looi Kee & Alessandro Nicita & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2008. "Import Demand Elasticities and Trade Distortions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 666-682, November.
  2. James E. Anderson & J. Peter Neary, 2005. "Measuring the Restrictiveness of International Trade Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262012200, June.
  3. Johanna L. Croser & Peter J. Lloyd & Kym Anderson, 2010. "How Do Agricultural Policy Restrictions on Global Trade and Welfare Differ Across Commodities?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 92(3), pages 698-712.
  4. Anderson, Kym & Kurzweil, Marianne & Martin, Will & Sandri, Damiano & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2008. "Measuring distortions to agricultural incentives, revisited," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4612, The World Bank.
  5. Anderson, Kym & Martin, William J., 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Asia," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48557, World Bank.
  6. Kee, Hiau Looi & Nicita, Alessandro & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2006. "Estimating trade restrictiveness indices," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3840, The World Bank.
  7. Valenzuela, Ernesto & Wong, Sara & Sandri, Damiano, 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Ecuador," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48394, World Bank.
  8. Robert C. Feenstra, 1995. "Estimating the Effects of Trade Policy," NBER Working Papers 5051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. MacLaren, Donald & Lloyd, Peter J., 2008. "Measuring assistance to the agricultural industry in Australia using a Production Assistance Index," 2008 Conference (52nd), February 5-8, 2008, Canberra, Australia 6033, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  10. Anderson, James E. & Bannister, Geoffrey, 1992. "The trade restrictiveness index : an application to Mexican agriculture," Policy Research Working Paper Series 874, The World Bank.
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