Weekly Seminar
Date
24.10.2016
Schedule
12:00-13:00
Location
M07, Amigos Building
Speaker
Henry Thomson (University of Oxford)
Food and Power: Agricultural Policy, Regime Type and Political Stability

Abstract:

In this article, Henry Thomson argues that institutions and socio-economic structures interact to generate agricultural policy outcomes. Because authoritarian governments are less responsive to electoral incentives and thus to the interests of the rural population, they implement urban-biased policies that decrease returns to farmers compared to democracies, on average. However, higher levels of agricultural support occur under autocracy when landholding inequality creates a small, powerful landed elite. Income inequality generates redistributive pressure under democracy and hampers food consumers’ ability to mobilize against authoritarian regimes, also leading to relatively high levels of support for agriculture among autocracies. When urban interests are powerful, autocracies provide lower levels of agricultural support than do democracies, which also implies lower food prices. I estimate cross-national panel regressions for fifty-six countries between 1960 and 2010, finding significant variation in policy outcomes across democracies and dictatorships which confirms these theoretical predictions.

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