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Special Interests versus the Public Interest in Policy Determination


  • Rausser, Gordon C.
  • Roland, Gerard


This paper focuses on recent theoretical developments in political economy and what role they might play in explaining and reforming individual country and global distortions in food and agricultural markets. Four groups of forces are isolated: political governance structures emphasizing the role of democratic mechanisms; the design of polycentric structures for assigned governmental authority for setting policy instruments; market structure and other socioeconomic characteristics; and the role of sector mobility and asset diversification. Each of these forces are distilled and data sources are reviewed that will allow econometric specifications that have both explanatory and policy reform implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Rausser, Gordon C. & Roland, Gerard, 2009. "Special Interests versus the Public Interest in Policy Determination," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 50294, World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:wbadwp:50294

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. De Gorter, Harry & Swinnen, Johan, 2002. "Political economy of agricultural policy," Handbook of Agricultural Economics,in: B. L. Gardner & G. C. Rausser (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 36, pages 1893-1943 Elsevier.
    2. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1995. "Trade Wars and Trade Talks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 675-708, August.
    3. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    4. Jacques Cremer & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2000. "Federal Mandates by Popular Demand," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 905-927, October.
    5. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
    6. Anderson, Kym, 1995. "Lobbying Incentives and the Pattern of Protection in Rich and Poor Countries," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 401-423, January.
    7. Nicola Persico & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2001. "The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 225-239, March.
    8. Kym Anderson & Will Martin, 2009. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Asia," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2611.
    9. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1998. "New ways of looking at old issues: inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-287.
    10. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1998. "Sources of Inefficiency in a Representative Democracy: A Dynamic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 139-156, March.
    11. Lee, David R. & Rausser, Gordon C., 1992. "The Structure of Research and Transfer Policies in International Agriculture: Evidence and Implications," Occasional Paper Series No. 6 197731, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    12. Allcott, Hunt & Lederman, Daniel & Lopez, Ramon, 2006. "Political institutions, inequality, and agricultural growth : the public expenditure connection," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3902, The World Bank.
    13. Gordon C. Rausser, 1992. "Predatory versus Productive Government: The Case of U.S. Agricultural Policies," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 133-157, Summer.
    14. repec:cup:apsrev:v:87:y:1993:i:04:p:856-869_10 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Rausser, Gordon C. & Goodhue, Rachael E., 2002. "Public policy: Its many analytical dimensions," Handbook of Agricultural Economics,in: B. L. Gardner & G. C. Rausser (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 39, pages 2057-2102 Elsevier.
    16. Valenzuela, Ernesto & Wong, Sara & Sandri, Damiano, 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Ecuador," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48394, World Bank.
    17. Gardner, Bruce L, 1987. "Causes of U.S. Farm Commodity Programs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(2), pages 290-310, April.
    18. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
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    More about this item


    Political economy; agricultural distortions; public interest; vested interests; Agricultural and Food Policy; International Relations/Trade; F13; H23; N50; Q18; O13; P16; P26;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy

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