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Why Governments Tax or Subsidize Trade: Evidence from Agriculture

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  • Gawande, Kishore
  • Hoekman, Bernard

Abstract

This paper empirically explores the political-economic determinants of why governments choose to tax or subsidize trade in agriculture. We use a new data set on nominal rates of assistance (NRA) across a number of commodities spanning the last five decades for 64 countries. NRAs measure the effect on domestic (relative to world) price of the quantitative and price-based instruments used to regulate agricultural markets. The data set admits consideration of both taxes and subsidies on exports and imports. We find that both economic and political variables play important roles in determining the within-variation in the NRA data. Based on our results we offer a number of data-driven exploratory hypotheses that can inform future theoretical and empirical research on why governments choose to tax or subsidize agricultural products – an important policy question that is also one of the least understood by scholars.

Suggested Citation

  • Gawande, Kishore & Hoekman, Bernard, 2009. "Why Governments Tax or Subsidize Trade: Evidence from Agriculture," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 50300, World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:wbadwp:50300
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hoekman, Bernanrd & Ng, Francis & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2003. "Reducing agrcultural tariffs versus domestic support : what's more important for developing countries?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2918, The World Bank.
    2. Anderson, Kym & Martin, Will & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2006. "The relative importance of global agricultural subsidies and market access," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(03), pages 357-376, November.
    3. 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.
    4. Dutt, Pushan & Mitra, Devashish, 2006. "Labor versus capital in trade-policy: The role of ideology and inequality," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 310-320, July.
    5. 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.
    6. Anderson, Kym & Croser, Johanna L. & Sandri, Damiano & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2009. "Agricultural Distortion Patterns Since the 1950s: What Needs Explaining?," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 50305, World Bank.
    7. Rodrik, Dani, 1995. "Political economy of trade policy," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1457-1494 Elsevier.
    8. Dutt, Pushan & Mitra, Devashish, 2002. "Endogenous trade policy through majority voting: an empirical investigation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 107-133, October.
    9. Kym Anderson & Will Martin, 2009. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Asia," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2611.
    10. Rodnik, Dani, 1992. "Conceptual issues in the design of trade policy for industrialization," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 309-320, March.
    11. repec:cup:apsrev:v:88:y:1994:i:01:p:33-47_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Pushan Dutt & Devashish Mitra, 2005. "Political Ideology and Endogenous Trade Policy: An Empirical Investigation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 59-72, February.
    13. Anderson, Kym & Kurzweil, Marianne & Martin, Will & Sandri, Damiano & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2008. "Measuring distortions to agricultural incentives, revisited," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(04), pages 675-704, October.
    14. Olper, Alessandro & Raimondi, Valentina, 2008. "Consitutional Rules and Agricultural Policy Outcomes," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 43870, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    15. World Bank, 2007. "World Development Indicators 2007," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 8150.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Distorted incentives; agricultural and trade policy reforms; national agricultural development; Agricultural price distortions; political economy of trade policy; Agricultural and Food Policy; International Relations/Trade; F13; F14; Q17; Q18; D72; D78; F11; H23;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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