Trade barrier volatility and domestic price stabilization : evidence from agriculture
National barriers to trade are often varied to insulate domestic markets from international price variability, especially following a sudden spike. This paper explores the extent of that behavior by governments in the case of agricultural products, particularly food staples whose prices have spiked three times over the past four decades. It does so using new annual estimates since 1955 of agricultural price distortions in 75 countries, updated to 2008. Responses by food importers to upward price spikes are shown to be as substantial as those by food exporters, thereby weakening the domestic price-stabilizing effect of intervention by exporters. They also add to the transfer of welfare to food-surplus from food-deficit countries -- the opposite of what is usually thought of when considering inter-sector trade retaliation. Phasing down World Trade Organization-bound import tariffs toward their applied rates would help reduce the legal opportunities for food-deficit countries to raise their import restrictions when international prices slump. To date there is no parallel discipline in the World Trade Organization that limits increases in export restrictions when prices spike upward, however. Bringing such discipline through new World Trade Organization rules could help alleviate the extent to which government responses to exogenous price spikes exacerbate those spikes.
|Date of creation:||01 Dec 2010|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433|
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page: http://www.worldbank.org/
More information through EDIRC
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5511. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.