Edited by Kym Anderson, Johan Swinnen
The vast majority of the world’s poorest households depend on
farming for their livelihood. 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 as well as within the
agricultural sector of both rich and poor countries.
Comprehensive empirical studies of the disarray in world
agricultural markets first appeared approximately 20 years ago. Since
then the OECD has provided estimates each year of market distortions in
high-income countries, but there has been no comparable estimates for
the world’s developing countries. This volume is the first in a
series that not only fills that void but extends the estimates in a
consistent and comparable way back in time.
This book provides an overview of the evolution of distortions to
agricultural incentives caused by price and trade policies in the
economies of Eastern Europe and Central Asia that are transitioning
away from central planning. The book includes country and subregional
studies of the ten transition economies of Central and Eastern Europe.
Together these countries comprise over 90 percent of the region’s
population and GDP. Sectoral, trade, and exchange rate policies in the
region have changed greatly since the dissolution of the Soviet Union
in 1991, but price distortions remain. The new empirical indicators in
these country studies provide a strong evidence-based foundation for
evaluating policy options in the years ahead.
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