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General equilibrium measures of agricultural policy bias in fifteen developing countries

  • Jensen, Henning Tarp
  • Robinson, Sherman
  • Tarp, Finn

In this paper, we present a comparative analysis of the extent to which indirect taxes, tariffs, and exchange rates affected relative price incentives for agricultural production in a representative sample of 15 developing countries in the 1990s. Empirical studies from the 1980s, using partial equilibrium methodologies, supported the view that policies in many developing countries imparted a major incentive bias against agriculture. Eliminating this bias was one of the goals of policy reform strategies, including structural adjustment programs, supported by the World Bank and others; and many countries undertook such reforms in the 1990s. In our sample, general equilibrium analysis indicates that, in the 1990s, the economywide system of indirect taxes, including tariffs and export taxes, significantly discriminated against agriculture in only one country, was largely neutral in five, provided a moderate subsidy to agriculture in four, and strongly favored agriculture in five. Earlier work assumed that overvaluation of the exchange rate would hurt agriculture, which was assumed to be largely tradable. In a general equilibrium setting, changes in the exchange rate can as demonstrated in this paper lead to anything between strongly increasing and decreasing relative agriculture/non-agriculture incentives, depending on relative trade shares. We conclude that, whatever incentive bias there was in the 1980s, it has mostly disappeared by the 1990s. We also find that it is difficult to generalize-country specific circumstances greatly affect the relative impact of trade policies on agriculture and the rural economy. Authors' Abstract.

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Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series TMD discussion papers with number 105.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:tmddps:105
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  1. de Melo, Jaime & Robinson, Sherman, 1981. "Trade Policy and Resource Allocation in the Presence of Product Differentiation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(2), pages 169-77, May.
  2. Tarp, Finn & Arndt, Channing & Jensen, Henning Tarp & Robinson, Sherman & Heltberg, Rasmus, 2002. "Facing the development challenge in Mozambique: an economywide perspective," Research reports 126, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Cattaneo, Andrea & Ojeda, Raul A. Hinojosa- & Robinson, Sherman, 1999. "Costa Rica trade liberalization, fiscal imbalances, and macroeconomic policy: a computable general equilibrium model," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 39-67.
  4. Robinson, Sherman & El-Said, Moataz & San, Nu Nu, 1998. "Rice policy, trade, and exchange rate changes in Indonesia: A general equilibrium analysis," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 393-423.
  5. Löfgren, Hans & Robinson, Sherman & Thurlow, James, 2002. "Macro and micro effects of recent and potential shocks to copper mining in Zambia," TMD discussion papers 99, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  6. Sumon Majumdar & Anandi Mani & Sharun W. Mukand, 2004. "Politics, Information and the Urban Bias," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0409, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  7. Mary E. Burfisher & Sherman Robinson & Karen Thierfelder, 2002. "Developing Countries and the Gains from Regionalism: Links between Trade and Farm Policy Reforms in Mexico," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(3), pages 736-748.
  8. Jensen, Henning Tarp & Robinson, Sherman & Tarp, Finn, 2002. "General equilibrium measures of agricultural policy bias in fifteen developing countries," TMD discussion papers 105, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  9. Harris, Rebecca Lee, 2001. "A computable general equilibrium analysis of Mexico's agricultural policy reforms," TMD discussion papers 65, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  10. Henning Tarp Jensen & Finn Tarp, 2002. "CGE Modelling and Trade Policy: Reassessing The Agricultural Bias," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(2), pages 383-405.
  11. Kherallah, Mylene & Lofgren, Hans & Gruhn, Peter & Reeder, Meyra M., 2000. "Wheat policy reform in Egypt: adjustment of local markets and options for future reforms," Research reports 115, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  12. Bautista, Romeo M. & Robinson, Sherman & Tarp, Finn & Wobst, Peter, 1998. "Policy bias and agriculture: partial and general equilibrium measures," TMD discussion papers 25, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  13. Arndt, Channing & Jensen, Henning Tarp & Tarp, Finn, 2000. "Structural Characteristics of the Economy of Mozambique: A SAM-Based Analysis," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 292-306, October.
  14. Amelia Santos-Paulino & A.P. Thirlwall, 2004. "Trade Liberalisation And Economic Performance In Developing Countries - Introduction," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(493), pages F1-F3, 02.
  15. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Sussangkarn, Chalongphob, 1992. "Effective Rates of Protection When Domestic and Foreign Goods Are Imperfect Substitutes: The Case of Thailand," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(4), pages 701-11, November.
  16. Arndt, Channing & Jensen, Henning Tarp & Robinson, Sherman & Tarp, Finn, 1999. "Marketing margins and agricultural technology in Mozambique:," TMD discussion papers 43, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  17. Löfgren, Hans & Harris, Rebecca Lee & Robinson, Sherman, 2001. "A standard computable general equilibrium (CGE) model in GAMS," TMD discussion papers 75, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  18. Lofgren, Hans & El-Said, Moataz, 2001. "Food subsidies in Egypt: reform options, distribution and welfare," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 65-83, February.
  19. Guanghua Wan & Amelia U. Santos-Paulino, 2008. "Introduction," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(10), pages 1273-1276, October.
  20. Ahmed, Akhter U. & Gutner, Tamar & Lofgren, Hans & Bouis, Howarth E., 2001. "The Egyptian food subsidy system: structure, performance, and options for reform," Research reports 119, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  21. Krueger, Anne O & Schiff, Maurice & Valdes, Alberto, 1988. "Agricultural Incentives in Developing Countries: Measuring the Effect of Sectoral and Economywide Policies," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 2(3), pages 255-71, September.
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