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Why Governments Tax or Subsidize Trade: Evidence from Agriculture

  • Gawande, Kishore
  • Hoekman, Bernard

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.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/50300
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Paper provided by World Bank in its series Agricultural Distortions Working Paper with number 50300.

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Date of creation: May 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ags:wbadwp:50300
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.worldbank.org

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  1. Anderson, Kym & Martin, Will & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2006. "The Relative Importance of Global Agricultural Subsidies and Market Access," CEPR Discussion Papers 5569, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Anderson, Kym & Martin, William J., 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Asia," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48557, World Bank.
  5. Rodnik, Dani, 1992. "Conceptual issues in the design of trade policy for industrialization," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 309-320, March.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Pushan Dutt & Devashish Mitra, 2002. "Political Ideology and Endogenous Trade Policy: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 9239, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Anderson, Kym & Kurzweil, Marianne & Martin, Will & Sandri, Damiano & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2008. "Measuring Distortions to Agricultural Incentives, Revisited," CEPR Discussion Papers 6924, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. World Bank, 2007. "World Development Indicators 2007," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 8150, April.
  12. 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.
  13. Anderson, Kym, 1993. "Lobbying Incentives and the Pattern of Protection in Rich and Poor Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 789, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521763233 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. 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.
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