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An updated look at the impact of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy on developing countries


  • Alan Matthews

    () (Institute for International Integration Studies, Trinity College Dublin)


The European Union's (EU) Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has long been criticised for its damaging effects on developing countries, and developing country agriculture in particular. This paper reviews whether these criticisms are still valid in the light of the recent reforms of the CAP. It reviews some of the ways in which the EU's agricultural policy can affect developing countries and examines the likely impact, in particular, of the changes made to the CAP regulations in the 2013 CAP reform. It concludes that the CAP now has relatively minor impacts on world markets in aggregate, although for particular commodities and particular countries, its importance can be greater. The revisions to the CAP regulations agreed in the 2013 CAP reform will have mixed and contradictory impacts on the EU's supply capacity and thus on developing countries. On balance, it represents a missed opportunity to build a more robust system of global food security. Developing countries will be disappointed that the opportunity was not taken to set a final date for the ending of export subsidies. A more ambitious CAP reform, in which the targeting of direct payments was pursued more ambitiously and coupled payments were phased out, would have had a greater impact in removing the remaining distortions caused by the CAP to world markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Matthews, 2014. "An updated look at the impact of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy on developing countries," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp454, IIIS.
  • Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp454

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Johan Swinnen, 2011. "The Right Price of Food," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 29(6), pages 667-688, November.
    2. Swinbank, Alan & Tranter, Richard B., 2005. "Decoupling EU Farm Support: Does the New Single Payment Scheme Fit within the Green Box?," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 6(1), pages 1-15.
    3. Ferreira Filho & Horridge, Mark & Joaquim Bento de Souza, 2009. "Would Trade Liberalization Help the Poor of Brazil?," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper Series 52795, World Bank.
    4. Alexander Gocht & Wolfgang Britz & Marcel Adenäuer & Pavel Ciaian & Sergio Gomez y Paloma, 2011. "Farm level policy scenario analysis," JRC Working Papers JRC64334, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    5. Alexandre Gohin, 2009. "Quelles conséquences d'une suppression de la politique agricole commune après 2013 ?," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 119(4), pages 633-651.
    6. Catherine Costa & Michelle Osborne & Xiao-guang Zhang & Pierre Boulanger & Patrick Jomini, 2009. "Modelling the Effects of the EU Common Agricultural Policy," Staff Working Papers 0903, Productivity Commission, Government of Australia.
    7. Christophe Gouel & Maria Priscila Ramos, 2008. "American and European Agricultural Market Access: A Concern for The South?," La Lettre du CEPII, CEPII research center, issue 277.
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    Cited by:

    1. Linderhof, Vincent & Powell, Jeffrey & Vignes, Romain & Ruben, Ruerd, 2016. "The influence of household farming systems on dietary diversity and caloric intake: the case of Uganda," 2016 Fifth International Conference, September 23-26, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 246444, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).
    2. repec:fpr:ifpric:9780896292499-01 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Gohin, Alexandre & Zheng, Yu, 2015. "Assessing the Market Impacts of the Common Agricultural Policy: Does Farmers’ Risk Attitude Matter?," 2015: Trade and Societal Well-Being, December 13-15, 2015, Clearwater Beach, Florida 229235, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
    4. Alan Matthews, 2015. "Impact of EU's agricultural and fisheries policies on the migration of third country nationals to the EU," Trinity Economics Papers tep0715, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    common agricultural policy; EU; developing countries; cap reform;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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