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A Billion Dollars a Day: The Economics and Politics of Agricultural Subsidies

ISBN: 978-1-4051-8586-8
320 pages
April 2009, ©2009, Wiley-Blackwell
A Billion Dollars a Day: The Economics and Politics of Agricultural Subsidies (1405185864) cover image
In a lively, non-technical, and up-to-date account, this book addresses the core questions that surround the issues of agricultural subsidies.
  • Explores these questions: Why do we have subsidies? How did they evolve? What is the present and possible future of subsidies? What is their impact on a typical African farmer?
  • Written for the general public, this book will also be useful for courses in Agricultural Policy
  • Provides a detailed examination of subsidy histories and the current policies of the United States, various European countries, Australia and New Zealand, and Korea and Japan
  • Includes a discussion of how these policies affect developing countries—examining, in particular, their impact on many African farmers
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List of Tables and Figures.

Preface.

List of Abbreviations.

Prologue.

Chapter 1: Introduction: The Problem of Agricultural Subsidies.

Benin.

Western Agricultural Subsidies.

Organization of the Book.

Chapter 2: The Economics of Government Intervention.

Introduction.

The Invisible Hand.

Market Failures.

Violation of the Basic Conditions: Imperfect Competition, Information and Risk.

Public Goods and Externalities.

Income Distribution, Poverty and Inequality.

Conclusion.

Appendix 2-1: The Theory of the Invisible Hand.

Appendix 2-2: The Prisoners’ Dilemma.

Chapter 3: The Structure of the World Food System.

Introduction.

Historical Perspectives.

The World Food System.

Agribusiness, Government and Science.

Conclusion.

Appendix 3-1: Country and Commodity Classifications used in Statistical Tables.

Chapter 4: Global Institutions and the World Trade Organization.

Introduction.

The World Trade Organization.

Agriculture in the WTO.

Trade and Development.

Appendix 4-1: Comparative Advantage.

Chapter 5: The Nature and Scope of Agricultural Subsidies in High-Income Countries.

Introduction.

Agricultural Policy Objectives and Tools.

Agricultural Subsidies in OECD Countries.

Effects of OECD Agricultural Subsidies.

Conclusion.

Chapter 6: U.S. Agricultural Policy: How Not to Save the Family Farm.

Introduction.

Historical Overview of U.S. Farm Policy.

The Impacts of U.S. Farm Subsidies.

The Politics of U.S. Agricultural Policy.

Appendix 6-1: ERS Farm Typology.

Chapter 7: Agricultural Policy in the European Union: Europe’s Sacred Cows.

Introduction.

Agricultural Policy in the European Union.

The Impact of the Common Agricultural Policy.

Appendix 7-1: Green Currencies and the Re-Nationalization of the CAP.

Chapter 8: Agricultural Policy on the Pacific Rim: Non-Trade Concerns Versus Comparative Advantage.

Introduction.

Japan and Korea.

Australia and New Zealand.

Conclusion.

Chapter 9: Agricultural Policy in Developing Countries: Cheap Food.

Introduction.

The Developing World.

Agricultural Policy in Developing Countries.

The Impacts of Agricultural and Trade Policy Reforms.

Conclusion.

Appendix 9-1: Country Lists.

Chapter 10: Conclusion: Whither Agricultural Policy?.

References.

Index

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E. Wesley F. Peterson is a Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of California-Berkeley, a Masters in Public Affairs from Princeton University and a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University. He was a Faculty Member at a French agribusiness institute and at Texas A&M University before moving to Nebraska. His research and teaching interests are in the areas of international agricultural trade, agricultural policy, and agricultural development in low-income countries. He is the author of The Political Economy of Agricultural, Natural Resource, and Environmental Policy Analysis (Iowa State University Press, Ames, IA 2001) and has authored and co-authored numerous journal articles and other publications.
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  • A short, inexpensive, and lively nontechnical introduction to the world of agricultural subsidies
  • Explores these questions: Why do we have subsidies? How did they evolve? What is the present and possible future of subsidies? What is their impact on a typical African farmer?
  • Separate chapters on: US; Europe; Japan and Korea; Australia and New Zealand
  • Written for the general public, this book will also be useful for courses in Agricultural Policy
See More
"Peterson's analysis is historical and descriptive, but up-to-date and detailed enough to be very informative."
Jean-Paul Chavas, University of Wisconsin

"This text’s discussion and explanation of subsidies is well developed in a historical and international context that is not found elsewhere."
Conrad Lyford, Texas Tech University

"This text provides a good narrative on the economics of government intervention, the structure of the world food system and history of the WTO, and the provision of farm subsidies by developed economies, with a special focus on the U.S. and EU."
P. Lynn Kennedy, Crescent City Tigers Alumni Professor, Louisiana State University

"Peterson has done a nice job of taking complicated issues and explaining them in a manner that is understandable for students with limited background in policy, development, and trade. This well-written text brings both a US and a world perspective to the timely and important topics of government farm policy and food prices."
Rick Whitacre, Illinois State University

"This extremely well-researched and -documented book provides a comprehensive overview of the impact (both intentional and unintentional) that developed nations’ agricultural policies can have on under-developed agricultural based nations."
Jay E. Noel, Cal Poly State University

"The main strength of this book is that it takes a long-term view of how agricultural policies have developed over the years to bring us where we are today. This long-term perspective enables the reader to appreciate the many complex issues - economic and political - involved in policy formulation, and the resulting entrenchment of policies that on the surface seem illogical. I do a lot of international development work and have been involved with policy analysis and formulation in the U.S. and abroad. I like the approach of this book as it draws attention to the many disparities encompassed by agricultural policy on the world stage."
Michael D. Hammig, Clemson University

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