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Agricultural Price Distortions: Trends and Volatility, Past and Prospective

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  • Kym Anderson

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Historically, earnings from farming in many developing countries have been depressed by a pro-urban bias in own-country policies, as well as by governments of richer countries favouring their farmers with import barriers and subsidies. Both sets of policies reduced global economic welfare and agricultural trade, and added to global inequality and poverty. Over the past three decades, much progress has been made in reducing agricultural protection in high-income countries and agricultural disincentives in developing countries. However, plenty of price distortions remain. As well, the propensity of governments to insulate their domestic food market from fluctuations in international prices has not waned. Such insulation contributes to the amplification of international food price fluctuations, yet it does little to advance national food security when food-importing and food-exporting countries equally engage in insulating behaviour. Thus there is still much scope to improve global economic welfare via multilateral agreement not only to remove remaining trade distortions but also to desist from varying trade barriers when international food prices gyrate. This paper summarizes indicators of trends and fluctuations in farm trade barriers before examining unilateral or multilateral trade arrangements, together with complementary domestic measures, that could lead to better global food security outcomes.

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File URL: https://crawford.anu.edu.au/acde/publications/publish/papers/wp2013/wp_econ_2013_01.pdf
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Paper provided by The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2013-01.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Handle: RePEc:pas:papers:2013-01
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  9. Ronald Findlay & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2007. "Power and Plenty: Trade, War and the World Economy in the Second Millennium (Preface)," Trinity Economics Papers tep0107, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
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  12. Valenzuela, Ernesto & van der Mensbrugghe, Dominique & Anderson, Kym, 2008. "General equilibrium effects of price distortions on global markets, farm incomes and welfare," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48630, World Bank.
  13. Dervis, Kemal & de Melo, Jaime & Robinson, Sherman, 1981. "A General Equilibrium Analysis of Foreign Exchange Shortages in a Developing Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 891-906, December.
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  16. Richard J. Sexton, 2013. "Market Power, Misconceptions, and Modern Agricultural Markets," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 95(2), pages 209-219.
  17. Anderson, Kym & Strutt, Anna, 2013. "South America’s Contribution to World Food Markets: GTAP Projections to 2030," Working Papers 145369, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
  18. Ronald Findlay & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2007. "Introduction to Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium," Introductory Chapters, in: Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium Princeton University Press.
  19. Ariel Fiszbein & Norbert Schady & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Margaret Grosh & Niall Keleher & Pedro Olinto & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers : Reducing Present and Future Poverty," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2597.
  20. Anderson, Kym & Strutt, Anna, 2012. "The changing geography of world trade: Projections to 2030," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 303-323.
  21. Ronald Findlay & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2007. "Preface to Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium," Introductory Chapters, in: Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium Princeton University Press.
  22. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Tiwari, Sailesh & Zaman, Hassan, 2011. "Can we rely on cash transfers to protect dietary diversity during food crises ? estimates from Indonesia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5548, The World Bank.
  23. Anderson, Kym & Valdes, Alberto, 2008. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Latin America and the Caribbean," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48575, World Bank.
  24. 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 255-271, September.
  25. Gordon H. Hanson, 2012. "The Rise of Middle Kingdoms: Emerging Economies in Global Trade," NBER Working Papers 17961, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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