distortions to agricultural incentives in australia since world war II

World Bank Publications

Australia's lackluster economic growth performance in the first four decades following World War II was in part due to an anti-trade, anti-primary sector bias in government assistance policies. This paper provides new annual estimates of the extent of those biases since 1946 and their gradual phase-out during the past two decades. In doing so it reveals that the timing of the sector assistance cuts was such as sometimes to improve but sometimes to worsen the distortions to incentives faced by farmers. The changes increased the variation of assistance rates within agriculture during the 1950s and 1960s, reducing the welfare contribution of those programs in that period. Although the assistance pattern within agriculture appears not to have been strongly biased against exporters, its reform has coincided with a substantial increase in the export orientation of many farm industries. The overall pattern for Australia is contrasted with that revealed by comparable new estimates for other high-income countries.
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Publisher
World Bank Publications
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Published on
Dec 31, 2007
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Pages
51
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Language
English
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Kym Anderson
Kym Anderson
The prices of farm products are crucial determinants of the extent of poverty and inequality in the world. The vast majority of the world s poorest households depend to a considerable extent on farming for their incomes, while food represents a large component of the consumption of all poor households. For generations, food prices have been heavily distorted by government policies in high-income and developing countries. Many countries began to reform their agricultural price and trade policies in the 1980s, but government policy intervention is still considerable and still favors farmers in high-income countries at the expense of many farmers in developing countries. What would be the poverty and inequality consequences of the removal of the remaining distortions to agricultural incentives? This question is of great relevance to governments in evaluating ways to engage in multilateral and regional trade negotiations or to improve their own policies unilaterally. 'Agricultural Price Distortions, Inequality, and Poverty' analyzes the effects of agricultural and trade policies around the world on national and regional economic welfare, on income inequality among and within countries, and on the level and incidence of poverty in developing countries. The studies include economy-wide analyses of the inequality and poverty effects of own-country policies compared with rest-of-the-world policies for 10 individual developing countries in three continents. This book also includes three chapters that each use a separate global economic model to examine the effects of policies on aggregate poverty and the distribution of poverty across many identified developing countries. This study is motivated by two policy issues: first, the World Trade Organization s struggle to conclude the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, in which agricultural policy reform is, again, one of the most contentious topics in the talks and, second, the struggle of the developing countries to achieve their Millennium Development Goals by 2015 notably the alleviation of hunger and poverty which depends crucially on policies that affect agricultural incentives.
Kym Anderson
The vast majority of the world s poorest households depend on farming for their livelihoods. During the 1960s and 1970s, most developing countries imposed pro-urban and anti-agricultural policies, while many high-income countries restricted agricultural imports and subsidized their farmers. Both sets of policies inhibited economic growth and poverty alleviation in developing countries. Although progress has been made over the past two decades to reduce those policy biases, many trade- and welfare-reducing price distortions remain between agriculture and other sectors and within the agricultural sector of both rich and poor countries. Comprehensive empirical studies of the disarray in world agricultural markets appeared approximately 20 years ago. Since then, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has provided estimates each year of market distortions in high-income countries, but there have been no comparable estimates for the world s developing countries. This volume is the third in a series (other volumes cover Asia, Europe s transition economies, and Latin America and the Caribbean) that not only fills that void for recent years but extends the estimates in a consistent and comparable way back in time and provides analytical narratives for scores of countries that shed light on the evolving nature and extent of policy interventions over the past half-century. 'Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Africa' provides an overview of the evolution of distortions to agricultural incentives caused by price and trade policies in the Arab Republic of Egypt plus 20 countries that account for about of 90 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa s population, farm households, agricultural output, and overall GDP. Sectoral, trade, and exchange rate policies in the region have changed greatly since the 1950s, and there have been substantial reforms since the 1980s. Nonetheless, numerous price distortions in this region remain, others have been added in recent years, and there has also been some backsliding, such as in Zimbabwe. The new empirical indicators in these country studies provide a strong evidence-based foundation for assessing the successes and failures of the past and for evaluating policy options for the years ahead.
Kym Anderson
The vast majority of the world's poorest households depend on farming for their livelihoods. During the 1960s and 1970s, most developing countries imposed pro-urban and anti-agricultural policies, while many high-income countries restricted agricultural imports and subsidized their farmers. Both sets of policies inhibited economic growth and poverty alleviation in developing countries. Although progress has been made over the past two decades to reduce those policy biases, many trade- and welfare-reducing price distortions remain between agriculture and other sectors and within the agricultural sector of both rich and poor countries. Comprehensive empirical studies of the disarray in world agricultural markets appeared approximately 20 years ago. Since then, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development had provided estimates each year of market distortions in high-income countries, but there have been no comparable estimates for the world's developing countries. This volume is the third in a series (other volumes cover Africa, Europe's transition economices, and Latin America and the Caribbean) that not only fills that void for recent years but extends the estimates in a consistent and comparable way back in time and provides analytical narratives for scores of countries that shed light on the evolving nature and extent of policy interventions over the past half-century. 'Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Asia' provides an overview of the evolution of distortions to agricultural incentives caused by price and trade policies in the 12 largest economies of East and South Asia. Together these countries constitute more than 95 percent of the region's population, agricultural output, and overall GDP. Sectoral, trade, and exchange rate policies in the region have changed greatly since the 1950s, and there have been substantial reforms since the 1980s, most notably in China and India. Nonetheless, numerous price distortions in this region remain and others have added in recent years. The new empirical indicators in these country studies provide a strong evidence-based foundation for assessing the successes and failures of the past and for evaluating policy options for the years ahead.
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