IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Alternative Policies to Agricultural Export Taxes That Are Less Market Distorting


  • Liefert, William M.
  • Westcott, Paul C.


In response to the surges in world agricultural and food prices that have occurred since 2006, many countries imposed controls on their agricultural exports, using taxes, quotas, and complete export bans. Further, during the past few decades, many countries have maintained longstanding export taxes not only on agricultural goods, but also on forestry and fishery products, minerals, metals, and precious stones. This study examines the market effects of a conventional export tax, as well as three alternative policies that are less market distorting, and thereby less welfare diminishing: a subsidy to consumption, a tax on production, and a modification of a conventional export tax that allows additional exports after producers meet a sales requirement for their output. All three alternatives result in more exports of affected goods than the unmodified tax does. The increased exports will thereby benefit foreign consumers, and if the country is a large exporter of an affected good on the world market, the benefit is larger, because the additional exports will lower the good’s world purchase price. Increased global sales and lower prices will improve world food security and benefit the consuming poor of the world, especially if the affected product is a staple food such as wheat or rice. Policies that pursue such goals are consistent with U.S. efforts to improve world food security. However, the alternative policies are "second best" options because they are less effective at increasing both domestic and world economic welfare than the first best policy of abolishing the export tax and allowing free export.

Suggested Citation

  • Liefert, William M. & Westcott, Paul C., 2015. "Alternative Policies to Agricultural Export Taxes That Are Less Market Distorting," Economic Research Report 262209, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uersrr:262209

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Liefert, William M. & Westcott, Paul C. & Wainio, John, 2013. "Modifying Export Taxes and Quotas To Make Them Less Market-Distorting," Working Papers 155284, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
    2. Djuric, Ivan & Gotz, Linde & Glauben, Thomas, 2012. "Export Restrictions On Wheat Markets In Serbia During Global Commodity Price Peaks – Did Consumers Really Benefit?," 2012: New Rules of Trade? December 2012, San Diego, California 143178, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
    3. David Laborde & Carmen Estrades & Antoine Bouët, 2013. "A Global Assessment of the Economic Effects of Export Taxes," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(10), pages 1333-1354, October.
    4. Jinglian, Wu & Renwei, Zhao, 1987. "The dual pricing system in China's industry," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 309-318, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Liefert, William M. & Westcott, Paul C., 2016. "Modifying agricultural export taxes to make them less market-distorting," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 65-77.
    2. repec:eee:enepol:v:109:y:2017:i:c:p:297-309 is not listed on IDEAS


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:uersrr:262209. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.