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Agricultural Distortion Patterns Since the 1950s: What Needs Explaining?

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  • Anderson, Kym
  • Croser, Johanna L.
  • Sandri, Damiano
  • Valenzuela, Ernesto

Abstract

This paper summarizes a new database that sheds light on the impact of trade-related policy developments over the past half century on distortions to agricultural incentives and thus also to consumer prices for food in 75 countries spanning the per capita income spectrum. Price-support policies of advanced economies hurt not only domestic consumers and exporters of other products but also foreign producers and traders of farm products, and they reduce national and global economic welfare. On the other hand, the governments of many developing countries have directly taxed their farmers over the past half-century, both directly (e.g., export taxes) and also indirectly via overvaluing their currency and restricting imports of manufactures. Thus the price incentives facing farmers in many developing countries have been depressed by both own-country and other countries’ agricultural price and international trade policies. We summarize these and related stylized facts that can be drawn from a new World Bank database that is worthy of the attention of political economy theorists, historians and econometricians. These indicators can be helpful in addressing such questions as the following: Where is there still a policy bias against agricultural production? To what extent has there been overshooting in the sense that some developing-country food producers are now being protected from import competition along the lines of the examples of earlier-industrializing Europe and Japan? What are the political economy forces behind the more-successful reformers, and how do they compare with those in less-successful countries where major distortions in agricultural incentives remain? And what explains the pattern of distortions across not only countries but also industries and in the choice of support or tax instruments within the agricultural sector of each country?

Suggested Citation

  • Anderson, Kym & Croser, Johanna L. & Sandri, Damiano & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2009. "Agricultural Distortion Patterns Since the 1950s: What Needs Explaining?," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper Series 50305, World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:wbadwp:50305
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.50305
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hayami, Yujiro, 2007. "An Emerging Agricultural Problem in High-Performing Asian Economies," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper Series 48635, World Bank.
    2. Sandri, Damiano & Valenzuela, Ernesto & Anderson, Kym, 2007. "Economic And Trade Indicators For Asia, 1960 To 2004," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper Series 48435, World Bank.
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    8. Kym Anderson & Johan Swinnen, 2008. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Europe's Transition Economies," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 6502.
    9. Kym Anderson & William A. Masters, 2009. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Africa," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 2607.
    10. Keijiro Otsuka & Takashi Yamano, 2006. "Introduction to the special issue on the role of nonfarm income in poverty reduction: evidence from Asia and East Africa," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 35(s3), pages 393-397, November.
    11. Huang, Jikun & Rozelle, Scott & Martin, William J. & Liu, Yu, 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in China," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper Series 48478, World Bank.
    12. 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(4), pages 675-704, October.
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    16. Peter J. Lloyd & Johanna L. Croser & Kym Anderson, 2009. "Global Distortions to Agricultural Markets: New Indicators of Trade and Welfare Impacts, 1955 to 2007," School of Economics Working Papers 2009-13, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
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    19. Anderson, Kym & Martin, William J. & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2007. "Long Run Implications of WTO Accession for Agriculture in China," 2007: China's Agricultural Trade: Issues and Prospects Symposium, July 2007, Beijing, China 55025, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
    20. Pardey, Philip G. & James, Jennifer S. & Alston, Julian M. & Wood, Stanley & Koo, Bonwoo & Binenbaum, Eran & Hurley, Terrance M. & Glewwe, Paul & Mayer, Jorge & Jones, Richard & De Groote, Hugo & Kana, 2007. "Science, Technology and Skills," Reports 136256, University of Minnesota, International Science and Technology Practice and Policy.
    21. 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, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Will Martin & Kym Anderson, 2012. "Export Restrictions and Price Insulation During Commodity Price Booms," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(2), pages 422-427.
    2. Anderson, Kym, 2009. "Krueger/Schiff/Valdés Revisited: Agricultural Price and Trade Policy Reform in Developing Countries since 1960," CEPR Discussion Papers 7601, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Tedesco, Ilaria & Pelloni, Alessandra & Trovato, Giovanni, 2015. "Oecd Agricultural Subsidies And Poverty Rates In Lower Income Countries," International Journal of Food and Agricultural Economics (IJFAEC), Alanya Alaaddin Keykubat University, Department of Economics and Finance, vol. 3(2), pages 1-19, April.
    4. Oded Stark & Jan Fałkowski, 2019. "On structural change, the social stress of a farming population, and the political economy of farm support," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 27(1), pages 201-222, January.
    5. Jan Fałkowski & Alessandro Olper, 2014. "Political competition and policy choices: the evidence from agricultural protection," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 45(2), pages 143-158, March.
    6. Christophe Gouel, 2014. "Food Price Volatility and Domestic Stabilization Policies in Developing Countries," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Food Price Volatility, pages 261-306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Onwuka, Ifeanyi Onuka, 2017. "Reversing Nigeria’s Food Import Dependency - Agricultural Transformation," Agricultural Development, Sophia, vol. 2(1), pages 1-12.
    8. Arovuori, Kyösti & Yrjölä, Tapani, 2015. "The impact of the CAP and its reforms on the productivity growth in agriculture," 147th Seminar, October 7-8, 2015, Sofia, Bulgaria 212241, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    9. Anderson, Kym, 2009. "Political Economy of Distortions to Agricultural Incentives: Introduction and Summary," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper Series 50306, World Bank.
    10. Gawande, Kishore & Hoekman, Bernard, 2009. "Why Governments Tax or Subsidize Trade: Evidence from Agriculture," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper Series 50300, World Bank.
    11. Shifa, Abdulaziz B., 2011. "Poor rural land property rights as a manifestation of urban bias," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 116002, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    12. Arovuori, Kyösti, 2017. "Jak reformy WPR przyczyniły się do zmian strukturalnych w rolnictwie?," Village and Agriculture (Wieś i Rolnictwo), Polish Academy of Sciences (IRWiR PAN), Institute of Rural and Agricultural Development, vol. 3(176).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agricultural and Food Policy; International Relations/Trade;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F59 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Other
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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