The Political Economy of Agricultural Price Distortions


The Political Economy of Agricultural Price Distortions

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 – or be changed by concerted actions to offset pressures from vested interests.


 Reviews:

“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

“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

“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, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University and Senior Fellow, Stanford Center for International Development

“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

“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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