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Political Economy of Distortions to Agricultural Incentives: Introduction and Summary

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  • Anderson, Kym

Abstract

During the 1960s and 1970s most developing countries imposed anti-agricultural policies, while many high-income countries restricted agricultural imports and subsidized their farmers. Both sets of policies inhibited economic growth and poverty alleviation in developing countries, while doing little to assist small farmers in high-income countries. Since the 1980s, however, many developing countries began to reduce the anti-agricultural bias of sectoral policies, and from the early 1990s the European Union began to move away from price supports to more-direct forms of farm income payments. This paper summarizes a forthcoming book that seeks to explain this evolving pattern of distortions to incentives conceptually and econometrically by making use of new political economy theory and a new globally comprehensive and consistent set of estimates of the changing extent of annual distortions over the past half-century. The distortion estimates involve more than 70 products that cover around 70 percent of the value of agricultural output in each of 75 countries that together account for over 90 percent of the global economy, and they expose the contribution of the various policy instruments (both farm and non-farm) to the net distortion to farmer incentives. Such a widespread coverage of countries, products, years and policy instruments has allowed this collection of studies to test a wide range of hypotheses suggested by the new political economy literature, including the importance of institutions. As a set it sheds much new light on the underlying forces that have affected incentives facing farmers in the course of national and global economic and political development, and hence on how those distortions might change in the future – or be changed by concerted actions to offset political pressures from traditionally powerful vested interests.

Suggested Citation

  • Anderson, Kym, 2009. "Political Economy of Distortions to Agricultural Incentives: Introduction and Summary," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper Series 50306, World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:wbadwp:50306
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.50306
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tyers,Rod & Anderson,Kym, 2011. "Disarray in World Food Markets," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521172318.
    2. Kym Anderson & Peter Lloyd & Donald Maclaren, 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Australia Since World War II," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(263), pages 461-482, December.
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    4. Anonymous, 1958. "General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(3), pages 417-418, July.
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    6. Kym Anderson & Will Martin, 2009. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Asia," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 2611.
    7. Kym Anderson & Johan Swinnen, 2008. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Europe's Transition Economies," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 6502.
    8. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
    9. Kym Anderson & William A. Masters, 2009. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Africa," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 2607.
    10. 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.
    11. Swinnen, Johan F.M., 2009. "Political Economy of Agricultural Distortions: The Literature to Date," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper Series 50308, World Bank.
    12. Johanna L. Croser & Peter J. Lloyd & Kym Anderson, 2010. "How Do Agricultural Policy Restrictions on Global Trade and Welfare Differ Across Commodities?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 92(3), pages 698-712.
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    Agricultural and Food Policy; International Relations/Trade;

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