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Trade Policy Coordination and Food Price Volatility

Christophe Gouel ()

FOODSECURE Working papers from LEI Wageningen UR

Abstract: Many countries adjust their trade policies counter cyclically with foodprices,to the extent that the use by numerous foodexporters of export restrictions has occasionally threatened the foodsecurity of food importing countries.These tradepolicies are inconsistent with the terms-of-trade motivation often retained to characterize the pay-off frontier of self-enforcing trade agreements,as they can worsen the terms of trade of the countries that apply them.This paper analyzes trade policy coordination when trade policies are driven by terms-of-trade effects and a desire to reduce domestic food price volatility. This frame work implies that importing and exporting countries have incentives to deviate from cooperation at different periods:the latter when prices are high and the former when prices are low. Since staplefood prices tend to have asymmetric distributions,with more prices below than above the mean but with occasional spikes,a self-enforcing agreement generates asymmetric outcomes.Without cooperation,an importing country uses more frequently its trade policy because of the concentration of prices below the mean,but an exporting country has a greater incentive to deviate from a cooperative trade policy because positive deviations from the mean price are larger than negative ones.Thus,the asymmetry of the distribution of commodity prices can make it more difficult to discipline export taxes than tariffs in trade agreements.

JEL-codes: F13 Q17 Q18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr and nep-int
Date: 2015-01
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Related works:
Journal Article: Trade Policy Coordination and Food Price Volatility (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Trade policy coordination and food price volatility (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Trade policy coordination and food price volatility (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: Trade Policy Coordination and Food Price Volatility (2014) Downloads
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