The Political Economy of Agricultural Price Distortions

The Political Economy of Agricultural Price Distortions

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Despite numerous policy reforms since the 1980s, farm product prices remain heavily distorted in both high-income and developing countries. This book seeks to improve our understanding of why societies adopted these policies, and why some but not other countries have undertaken reforms. Drawing on recent developments in political economy theories and in the generation of empirical measures of the extent of price distortions, the present volume provides both analytical narratives of the historical origins of agricultural protectionism in various parts of the world and a set of political econometric analyses aimed at explaining the patterns of distortions that have emerged over the past five decades. These new studies shed much light on the forces affecting incentives and those facing farmers in the course of national and global economic and political development. They also show how those distortions might change in the future.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text | 464 pages
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 36 b/w illus. 61 tables
  • 113903670X
  • 9781139036702

Review quote

Review of the hardback: 'Efficiency-sapping agriculture protection in the rich nations continues to be a problem, and it seems to be spreading to emerging economies just when climate change will require the world's food production and trade to be more efficient. Using a massive new data set, this book illuminates the political economy determinants of farm policies - the determinants that we must change if the world's food production is to meet twenty-first-century challenges. In short this book is right; the right people on the right topic at the right time.' Richard Baldwin, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva Review of the hardback: 'Kym Anderson should be commended for his great public service in organizing this splendid volume. The agricultural trade policy analysts he brings together here are astute and shed great light on existing government distortions to these markets. This is a very interesting book on an important topic.' Douglas Irwin, Dartmouth College Review of the hardback: 'This book is rich, both in the early chapters, which provide excellent summaries of the literature, and in the later ones, which push the understanding of political economy forward. It is a must-read for anyone wanting to know about government policies toward agriculture, their high cost to the global economy, and their often unintended effects on farmers. The research reported on the political economy of these policies breaks new ground and also presents a challenging menu of questions for further research.' Anne Krueger, Johns Hopkins University and Stanford Center for International Development Review of the hardback: 'Poor countries are poor because of their politics, and the place where this has the biggest consequences is agriculture. To understand these issues, this book, which brings together the leading scholars of this topic with a huge new database, is the place to start.' James Robinson, Harvard University Review of the hardback: 'This collaborative effort is a tour de force in enhancing the understanding of the characteristics and determinants of agricultural intervention policies, currently and historically, in both the major industrialized countries and the developing countries. It is especially timely in light of the key role that agriculture is playing in the ongoing Doha Round negotiations.' Robert M. Stern, University of Michigan Review of the hardback: 'As an overall impression, this is a well-written and composed book on an important topic.' The Journal of World Trade Review
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About Kym Anderson

Kym Anderson is George Gollin Professor of Economics, School of Economics, University of Adelaide, Australia. During 2004-7 he was on extended leave at the World Bank's Development Research Group as Lead Economist, Trade Policy. Earlier, he spent 1990-92 at the Research Division of the GATT (now the WTO) Secretariat in Geneva. Professor Anderson has published approximately 300 articles and 40 books, including The Political Economy of Agricultural Protection (with Yujiro Hayami and others, which received the Tohata Memorial Award from Japan's National Institute for Research Advancement), Disarray in World Food Markets (with Rod Tyers, Cambridge University Press, 1992), New Silk Roads (Cambridge University Press, 1992), and Agricultural Trade Reform and the Doha Development Agenda (with Will Martin, which received the American Agricultural Economics Association's 2006 Quality of Communication Award and the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society's 2007 Quality of Research Discovery Prize). During 2006-9 Professor Anderson directed a large empirical research project for the World Bank on distortions to agricultural incentives, covering 75 countries. Four region-oriented books and two global-oriented books appeared in 2008-9 and 2009-10, respectively, from this research project, in addition to this present book.
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Table of contents

Part I. Introduction: 1. Understanding government interventions in agricultural markets Kym Anderson; 2. Agricultural distortion patterns since the 1950s: what needs explaining Kym Anderson, Johanna Croser, Damiano Sandri and Ernesto Valenzuela; Part II. Conceptual Frameworks and Historical Origins: 3. Political economy of agricultural distortions: the literature to date Johan Swinnen; 4. Special interests versus the public interest in policy determination Gordon Rausser and Gerard Roland; 5. Anglo-French trade, 1689-1899: agricultural trade policies, alcohol taxes and war John Nye; 6. Agricultural protection growth in Europe, 1870-1969 Johan Swinnen; 7. Determinants of farm policies in the United States, 1996-2008 David Orden, David Blandford and Tim Josling; 8. Agricultural distortions in the transition economies of Asia and Europe Scott Rozelle and Johan Swinnen; Part III. Political Econometrics: The Past Fifty Years: 9. Agricultural price distortions and stabilization Will Masters and Andres Garcia; 10. Which governments tax or subsidize agricultural trade? Kishore Gawande and Bernard Hoekman; 11. Impacts of ideology, inequality, lobbying and public finance Pushan Dutt and Devashish Mitra; 12. Agricultural trade interventions in Africa Robert Bates and Steven Block; 13. Do trade agreements reduce the volatility of agricultural assistance rates? Olivier Cadot, Marcelo Olarreaga and Jeanne Tschopp; 14. Constitutional rules and agricultural policy outcomes Alessandro Olper and Valentina Raimondi; Appendix. Coverage and distribution of assistance across countries and products, 1955-2007 Kym Anderson and Johanna Croser.
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