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Export restrictions and price insulation during commodity price booms

Author

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  • Martin, Will
  • Anderson, Kym

Abstract

For individual countries, variable trade barriers can be used to reduce the volatility of domestic relative to world prices. If this is done by countries accounting for a large share of the market, its effect is offset by increases in world price volatility. This study shows the nature of the resulting collective action problem, with the policy being ineffective on average in stabilizing domestic prices while increasing the volatility of the income transfers from terms-of-trade changes. A simple approach to assessing the contribution of insulation to the price increases is developed and used with new estimates of agricultural distortions to assess its contribution to the price spikes in 1972-74 and 2006-08 for rice and wheat. The analysis suggests that 45 percent of the increase in rice prices in 2006-08, and 30 percent of the increase in wheat prices, was due to insulating behavior. One sign of progress since 1972-74 was a substantial reduction in the extent of price-insulating behavior by the industrial countries. This provides little stabilizing benefit in the rice market because countries not classifying themselves at the World Trade Organization as developing account for only 3 percent of world rice consumption. But it does offer some benefit for the wheat market where non-developing countries account for 27 percent of consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin, Will & Anderson, Kym, 2011. "Export restrictions and price insulation during commodity price booms," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5645, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5645
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. D. Gale Johnson, 1975. "World Agriculture, Commodity Policy, and Price Variability," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 57(5), pages 823-828.
    2. Anderson, Kym & Croser, Johanna L. & Sandri, Damiano & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2009. "Agricultural Distortion Patterns Since the 1950s: What Needs Explaining?," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper Series 50305, World Bank.
    3. Anderson,Kym (ed.), 2010. "The Political Economy of Agricultural Price Distortions," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521763233, October.
    4. Bouet, Antoine & Laborde Debucquet, David, 2010. "Economics of export taxation in a context of food crisis," IFPRI discussion papers 994, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Valenzuela, Ernesto & Wong, Sara & Sandri, Damiano, 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Ecuador," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper Series 48394, World Bank.
    6. Thomas W. Hertel & Will Martin & Amanda M. Leister, 2010. "Potential Implications of a Special Safeguard Mechanism in the World Trade Organization: the Case of Wheat," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 24(2), pages 330-359, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Markets and Market Access; Emerging Markets; Access to Markets; E-Business; Commodities;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • Q02 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Commodity Market
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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