Impacts and Incidence of Agricultural Commodity Programs

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1990-05-01
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Johnson, Stanley
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Choi, E. Kwan
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Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) conducts innovative public policy and economic research on agricultural, environmental, and food issues. CARD uniquely combines academic excellence with engagement and anticipatory thinking to inform and benefit society.

CARD researchers develop and apply economic theory, quantitative methods, and interdisciplinary approaches to create relevant knowledge. Communication efforts target state and federal policymakers; the research community; agricultural, food, and environmental groups; individual decision-makers; and international audiences.

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This paper analyzes the incidence of agricultural commodity programs. Producers advocate commodity programs and receive price subsidies, but free entry and perfectly elastic supplies of nonland inputs ensure that landowners extract the entire surplus from price subsidies. Moreover, an increase in the target price raises the land rent more than proportionately. Although landless producers benefit from commodity programs in the short run, they do not in the long run. Roughly 60 percent of program benefits go to producers who own land, and the remainder to landowners.

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