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Food pricing policies in developing countries (Inglês)

This paper describes major features of food pricing policies in LDCs, focusing on their rationale, their effects, and their cost benefit structure. Humanitarian, developmental, pragmatic, and political reasons combine to shape food policies in LDCs, which vary across countries. The food programs and the market interventions of which they are an integral and important part have generated a complex pattern of costs and benefits, both intended and unintended. These costs and benefits are of three basic types: fiscal, welfare, and patronage. Fiscal benefits are the tax revenues generated by the intervention; the major costs are administrative. Welfare aspects relate to producers, consumers, and the economy at large. Producers lose to the extent they are taxed and not fully compensated. The overall picture is food scarcity where cheap food policy prevails; the conflict of interests between producer and consumer is profound. Welfare consequences of intervention are the result of a choice between incurring substantial deficits while protecting industrial and social programs or containing the deficits while sacrificing the programs. Either way, intervention suffers. The patronage aspects relate to the limited flexibility governments wield in restructuring intervention.

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