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Policy dilemmas in India: The Impact of changes in agricultural prices on rural and urban poverty

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  • Sandra Polaski et al

    () (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
    Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research)

Abstract

Trade policy reforms which lead to changes in world prices of agricultural commodities or domestic policies aimed at affecting agricultural prices are often seen as causing a policy dilemma: a fall in agricultural prices benefits poor urban consumers but hurts poor rural producers, while a rise yields the converse. Poor countries have argued that they need to be able to use import protection and/or price support policies to protect themselves against volatility in world agricultural prices in order to dampen these effects. In this paper, we explore this dilemma in a CGE model of India that uses a new social accounting matrix (SAM) developed at the Indira Ghandi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR) in Mumbai. The SAM includes extensive disaggregation of agricultural activities, commodity markets, labor markets, and rural and urban households. This SAM includes 115 commodities, 48 labor types and 352 types of households, (classified by social group, income class, region, and urban/rural). The CGE model based on this SAM can be used to explore the linkages between changes in world prices of agriculture and the incomes of poor rural and urban households, capturing rural-urban linkages in both commodity and factor markets. The results indicate that the inclusion of linkages between rural and urban labor markets is necessary to fully explore, and potentially eliminate, the dilemma. A fall in agricultural prices hurts agricultural producers, lowers wages and/or employment of rural labor, and in some cases spills over into urban labor markets, depressing wages and incomes of poor urban households as well. In these cases both rural and urban poverty increases. The paper explores the strength of these commodity and factor market linkages, and the potential spillover effects of policies affecting agricultural prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Sandra Polaski et al, 2008. "Policy dilemmas in India: The Impact of changes in agricultural prices on rural and urban poverty," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2008-012, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
  • Handle: RePEc:ind:igiwpp:2008-012
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    File URL: http://www.igidr.ac.in/pdf/publication/WP-2008-012.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas W. Hertel & Roman Keeney & Maros Ivanic & L. Alan Winters, 2015. "Why Isn't the Doha Development Agenda more Poverty Friendly?," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Non-Tariff Barriers, Regionalism and Poverty Essays in Applied International Trade Analysis, chapter 18, pages 375-391 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    2. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2004. "Gainers and losers from trade reform in Morocco," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3368, The World Bank.
    3. Devaragan, Shantayanan & Lewis, Jeffrey D. & Robinson, Sherman, 1990. "Policy lessons from trade-focused, two-sector models," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 625-657.
    4. A. Ganesh-Kumar & Manoj K. Panda & Mary E. Burfisher, 2006. "Reforms in Indian agro-processing and agriculture sectors in the context of unilateral and multilateral trade agreements," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2006-011, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    5. Thomas W. Hertel & Jeffrey J. Reimer, 2006. "Predicting the Poverty Impacts of Trade Reform," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 2, May.
    6. Petia Topalova, 2007. "Trade Liberalization, Poverty and Inequality: Evidence from Indian Districts," NBER Chapters,in: Globalization and Poverty, pages 291-336 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Steve Boucher & J. Edward Taylor, 2006. "Subsistence Response to Market Shocks," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 88(2), pages 279-291.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Gilbert, 2008. "Agricultural Trade Reform and Poverty in the Asia-Pacific: A Survey and Some New Results," Working Papers 2008-01, Utah State University, Department of Economics, revised 19 Dec 2008.
    2. John Gilbert, 2008. "Trade Policy, Poverty, and Income Distribution in CGE Models: An Application to SAFTA," Working Papers 2008-02, Utah State University, Department of Economics, revised 19 Dec 2008.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Doha negotiations; India trade policy; World prices; Labour market; CGE model;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • O24 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Trade Policy; Factor Movement; Foreign Exchange Policy
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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