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Economics of export taxation in a context of food crisis

  • Bouet, Antoine
  • Laborde Debucquet, David

This paper aims to assess the rationales for the use of export taxes, in particular in the context of a food crisis. First, we summarize the effects of export taxes using both partial and general equilibrium theoretical models. When large countries have an objective of constant food domestic prices, in the event of an increase in world agricultural prices the optimal response is to decrease import tariffs in net food-importing countries and to increase export tariffs in net food-exporting countries. The latter decision is welfare improving while the former is welfare reducing: it is the price to pay to get domestic food prices constant. Small countries are harmed by both decisions. Second, we illustrate the costs of a lack of cooperation in and regulation of (binding process) such policies in a time of crisis using a global computable general equilibrium (CGE) model illustration, mimicking the mechanisms that have appeared during the recent food price surge. We conclude with a call for international regulation, in particular because small net food-importing countries may be substantially harmed by these beggar-thy-neighbor policies that amplify the already negative impact of the food crisis.

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Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series IFPRI discussion papers with number 994.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:994
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  1. Peter G. Warr, 2001. "Welfare Effects of an Export Tax: Thailand's Rice Premium," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(4), pages 903-920.
  2. Mohamed Hedi Bchir & Yvan Decreux & Jean-Louis Guérin & Sébastien Jean, 2002. "MIRAGE, a Computable General Equilibrium Model for Trade Policy Analysis," Working Papers 2002-17, CEPII research center.
  3. P. A. Diamond, 1975. "A Many-Person Ramsey Tax Rule," Working papers 146, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Decreux, Yvan & Valin, Hugo, 2007. "MIRAGE, Updated Version of the Model for Trade Policy Analysis: Focus on Agriculture and Dynamics," Working Papers 7284, TRADEAG - Agricultural Trade Agreements.
  5. Boumellassa, Houssein & Debucquet, David Laborde & Mitaritonna, Cristina, 2009. "A picture of tariff protection across the World in 2004: MAcMap-HS6, Version 2," IFPRI discussion papers 903, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  6. Christian Broda & N. Limao & D. Weinstein, 2006. "Optimal Tariffs: The Evidence," 2006 Meeting Papers 381, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Jonathan Eaton & Gene M. Grossman, 1983. "Optimal Trade and Industrial Policy Under Oligopoly," NBER Working Papers 1236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Corden, W. M., 1971. "The substitution problem in the theory of effective protection," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 37-57, February.
  9. Rodrik, Dani, 1989. "Optimal trade taxes for a large country with non-atomistic firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1-2), pages 157-167, February.
  10. Peter Warr, 2002. "Export taxes and income distribution: The Philippines coconut levy," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 138(3), pages 437-458, September.
  11. Bouet, Antoine & Decreux, Yvan & Fontagne, Lionel & Jean, Sebastien & Laborde, David, 2005. "A Consistent Picture of Applied Protection Across the World," Working Papers 18859, TRADEAG - Agricultural Trade Agreements.
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