Earnings from farming in many low-income countries have been depressed by a pro-urban bias in own-country policies, as well as by governments of richer countries favoring their farmers with import barriers and subsidies. Both sets of policies reduce national and global economic welfare. The rapid development of many Asian emerging economies has been accompanied by a gradual reduction in their anti-agricultural policies, but many distortions remain and some countries have moved from negative to positive assistance for farmers, following the earlier examples of first Japan and then Korea and Taiwan. Drawing on results from a new multi-country research project, this paper examines the extent of these changes relative to those of other developing countries over the past five decades. It concludes by pointing to prospects for further policy reform in Asia.
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