نقش رشد بهره وری و سیاست های حفاظت از درآمد کشاورزان در کاهش نسبی قیمت مزرعه در ایالات متحده
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|11541||2008||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Policy Modeling, Volume 30, Issue 5, September–October 2008, Pages 873–885
The paper emphasizes three interrelated questions about the decline in relative farm to non-farm prices in the United States since 1973: (1) Is it unusual, (2) What caused it, and (3) Is it likely to continue? We find that based on historical and international evidence this phenomenon may be considered unusual. Separating farm price and income support in 1973 and growing relative productivity in agriculture have been the major contributors to changing the trend of the relative farm goods inflation. This trend is likely to continue based on predicted steady growth of relative agricultural productivity and continuation of direct payments and other forms of farm income support policies.
High inflation has traditionally been one of major concerns among economic policy makers around the world. But just as high inflation may be dangerous and disruptive to the normal functioning of an economy, the same can be said about very low inflation, which can lead at an extreme to deflation or a sustained decline in the aggregate price level. It was noticed that the goods prices have been falling in the United States during last several years, while the services prices continue to rise (Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS hereafter). While the rise in services prices more than offset the decline in the goods prices thus keeping overall inflation positive, the trend caused some concerns among economists in the United States (Clark, 2004). An equally interesting trend to people who follow agricultural commodity (farm level) prices in the United States is the increasing gap between consumer prices measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Producer Price Index (PPI), and prices of all non-farm commodities on one side and the farm level agricultural commodity prices on the other side. For more than 30 years now agricultural prices grew at a rate below the growth rate of any other price index in the United States. This ultimately had to lead to the reallocation of resources, especially labor, that moved from agriculture to the sectors of the economy exhibiting more opportunities (services, for example). This paper assesses whether the sustained slower growth of agricultural prices relative to other prices in the economy should be cause for concern among farmers or policy makers in the United States. The analysis emphasizes three interrelated questions about the decline in farm goods inflation relative to other goods and services: (1) Is it unusual, (2) What caused it, and (3) Is it likely to continue? The paper is organized as follows. Section 2 examines the extent to which last 30 years represent an experience unusual by historical and international standards. Section 3 evaluates potential explanations for the presence of this sustained gap in inflation rates. Section 4 reports results of empirical model. Section 5 concludes with an assessment of whether this gap is likely to persist or may be narrowed or widened in the future.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
It was determined in the paper that of the past three decades’ falloff in farm goods inflation relative to non-farm producer goods and services is a U.S. phenomenon. Multiple causes for this phenomenon were contemplated, and both theory and empirical evidence suggest that increase in relative agricultural productivity and income directed farm policies are main reasons for the occurrence of this trend in relative prices. The resulting question before us becomes: is the differential between non-farm and farm prices more likely to remain (or further increase) at an elevated level or decline in the period ahead? Recent technological advances in bioengineering contributed to a significant, and still lasting, productivity growth in agriculture. The same trend is expected to continue. As one could see, agriculture already experienced much higher productivity growth rates than the rest of the economy in last several decades. Thus, relatively high productivity growth rate in agriculture are likely to keep high or even further increase the difference between prices of non-farm goods and services and farm commodities. At the same time, agricultural lobbying in the United States has traditionally been among the most successful lobbying efforts in attracting government support. We hypothesized that, in addition to increasing relative productivity of agriculture, U.S. government support of the agricultural sector significantly contributed to the sustained decline of farm prices relative to non-farm prices. However, our results indicate that although the size of the government policy effect is relatively small, it is statistically significant. This implies that government policies directed towards directly supporting farmers’ incomes still contribute to the observed trend in relative prices. This result has some very interesting implications. While the political economy background of the increase in direct payments and government support to farmers can be determined, it is very difficult to rationalize this type of behavior from the purely public policy point of view. By increasing direct payments to the farmers, government encouraged continuously overproduction in the sector and misplacement of the resources, in particular labor. Moreover, continuous overproduction in the sector due to direct (income) payments to the farmers may have been less effective in increasing producer income, as increased production leads to lower market prices and returns (assuming relatively inelastic demand for agricultural commodities). On the flip side of this argument one could conclude that some of the benefits of the direct payments to the farmers have been transferred to consumers via lower prices. There are some other possible implications of these types of government policies that have not been in the focus of the analysis specifically but are nevertheless important and as such deserve to be mentioned. If production indeed increased due to increases in direct (income) payments to the farmers, that may have had detrimental environmental consequences. This is especially true if new production came from environmentally marginal or most vulnerable land. Also, the United States declared to the World Trade Organization (WTO) that PFC payments fall under the category of so-called “green box” and as such result in minimal distortions of agricultural markets. Our results indicate that it is not quite clear that these payments are truly production neutral. The effects of this “bad policy” on relative prices are relatively small, and the main damage from the policy comes from the misuse or suboptimal spending of budgetary funds, and possibly through environmental degradation of agricultural land. On the other hand, the argument made by farm communities and rural development specialists is that these programs have never been designed to conform to economic principles, but rather to serve and protect rural America and its way of life. The cynical side-effect of this argument is that the biggest beneficiaries of this government policy are the largest farmers that happen to be, in most cases, corporate farms that have nothing to do with rural America and its way of life. The largest beneficiary of the USDA's subsidy programs received over 533 million US dollars in income payments between 1995 and 2004, while top four recipients of direct income payments totaled over 1 billion US dollars during the same period (http://www.ewg.org/farm/).