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Competition in Kenyan markets and its impact on income and poverty : a case study on sugar and maize

Listed author(s):
  • Argent,Jonathan Thompson
  • Begazo Gomez,Tania Priscilla
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    This paper investigates the link between competitive, well-functioning food markets and consumer welfare. The paper explores two key food markets in Kenya -- sugar and maize -- and argues that a variety of factors conspire to distort market prices upward. Distortionary factors include import tariff policy, nontariff barriers, potential anticompetitive conduct by firms, and direct state intervention in markets. Changes in sugar and maize prices are shown to have significant welfare effects on consumers. Equivalent income effects are estimated using the most recent available representative household survey data -- the Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey 2005/06. The paper shows that relaxing trade barriers to allow sugar prices to fall by 20 percent could reduce poverty by 1.5 percent. Similarly, adjusting government interventions in the maize market, which have been shown to inflate maize prices by 20 percent on average, could reduce poverty by 1.8 percent. The magnitude of the estimated income effects may vary based on updated household-level consumption data, assumptions regarding demand elasticities, and estimates of import parity prices for these staples. However, in all the scenarios, more competitive prices have a larger average effect on the poorest households in urban and rural areas, supporting the relevance of effective competition policies for poverty reduction strategies.

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    File URL: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/239021468254953019/pdf/WPS7179.pdf
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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 7179.

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    Date of creation: 01 Jan 2015
    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:7179
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    1. Elliot Mghenyi & Robert J. Myers & T.S. Jayne, 2011. "The effects of a large discrete maize price increase on the distribution of household welfare and poverty in rural Kenya-super-1," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 42(3), pages 343-356, 05.
    2. Creedy, John & Dixon, Robert, 1998. "The Relative Burden of Monopoly on Households with Different Incomes," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(258), pages 285-293, May.
    3. Amani Elobeid & John Beghin, 2006. "Multilateral Trade and Agricultural Policy Reforms in Sugar Markets," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 23-48, 03.
    4. Mitchell, Donald, 2004. "Sugar policies opportunity for change," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3222, The World Bank.
    5. Kirimi, Lilian & Sitko, Nicholas & Jayne, Thom S. & Karin, Francis & Muyanga, Milu & Sheahan, Megan & Flock, James & Bor, Gilbert, 2011. "A Farm Gate-to-Consumer Value Chain Analysis of Kenya's Maize Marketing System," Working Papers 202597, Egerton University, Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development.
    6. Ravallion, Martin, 1990. "Rural Welfare Effects of Food Price Changes under Induced Wage Responses: Theory and Evidence for Bangladesh," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(3), pages 574-585, July.
    7. Deaton, Angus, 1989. "Rice Prices and Income Distribution in Thailand: A Non-parametric Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(395), pages 1-37, Supplemen.
    8. T. S. Jayne & Robert J. Myers & James Nyoro, 2008. "The effects of NCPB marketing policies on maize market prices in Kenya," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 38(3), pages 313-325, 05.
    9. Todd Benson & Samuel Mugarura & Kelly Wanda, 2008. "Impacts in Uganda of rising global food prices: the role of diversified staples and limited price transmission," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 39(s1), pages 513-524, November.
    10. World Bank, 2009. "Eastern Africa - A study of the Regional Maize Market and Marketing Costs," World Bank Other Operational Studies 3155, The World Bank.
    11. Wodon, Quentin & Zaman, Hassan, 2008. "Rising food prices in Sub-Saharan Africa : poverty impact and policy responses," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4738, The World Bank.
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