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Export Restrictions and Price Insulation During Commodity Price Booms

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  • Anderson, Kym
  • Martin, Will

Abstract

For individual countries, variable trade barriers can be used to reduce the volatility of domestic relative to world prices. If this is done by countries accounting for a large share of the market, its effect is offset by increases in world price volatility. This study shows the nature of the resulting collective action problem, with the policy being ineffective on average in stabilizing domestic prices while increasing the volatility of the income transfers from terms-of-trade changes. A simple approach to assessing the contribution of insulation to the price increases is developed and used with new estimates of agricultural distortions to assess its contribution to the price spikes in 1972-4 and 2006-8 for rice and wheat. The analysis suggests that 45 percent of the increase in rice prices in 2006-8, and 30 percent of the increase in wheat prices, was due to insulating behavior. One sign of progress since 1972-74 was a substantial reduction in the extent of price-insulating behavior by the industrial countries. This provides little stabilizing benefit in the rice market because countries not classifying themselves at WTO as developing account for only 3 percent of world rice consumption, but it does offer some benefit for the wheat market where non-developing countries account for 27 percent of consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Anderson, Kym & Martin, Will, 2011. "Export Restrictions and Price Insulation During Commodity Price Booms," CEPR Discussion Papers 8494, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8494
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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. Robles, Miguel & Torero, Maximo & von Braun, Joachim, 2009. "When speculation matters:," Issue briefs 57, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    5. Hochman, Gal & Kaplan, Scott & Zilberman, David, 2013. "The Causes of Recent Food Commodity Crises," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150423, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    6. Bouet, Antoine & Laborde Debucquet, David, 2010. "Economics of export taxation in a context of food crisis," IFPRI discussion papers 994, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Kym Anderson & Signe Nelgen, 2010. "How Do Governments Respond To Food Price Spikes? Lessons From The Past," Journal of International Commerce, Economics and Policy (JICEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 1(02), pages 265-285.
    8. 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.
    9. Valenzuela, Ernesto & Wong, Sara & Sandri, Damiano, 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Ecuador," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper Series 48394, World Bank.
    10. Ivanic, Maros & Martin, Will, 2008. "Implications of higher global food prices for poverty in low-income countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4594, The World Bank.
    11. Thomas W. Hertel & Will Martin & Amanda M. Leister, 2010. "Potential Implications of a Special Safeguard Mechanism in the World Trade Organization: the Case of Wheat," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 24(2), pages 330-359, August.
    12. Kym Anderson, 2009. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives : A Global Perspective, 1955-2007," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 9436, November.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Food price volatility; food security; insulating trade policies;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • Q02 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Commodity Market
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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