The political economy of food standard determination: international evidence from maximum residue limits

Date
2014-07-29
Authors
Li, Yuan
Beghin, John
Xiong, Bo
Beghin, John
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Economics
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Economics
Abstract

Food safety standards have proliferated as multilateral and bilateral trade agreements constrain traditional barriers to agricultural trade. Stringent food standards can be driven by rising consumer and public concern about food safety and other social objectives, or by the lobbying efforts from domestic industries in agriculture. We investigate the economic and political determinants of the maximum residue limits (MRLs) on pesticides and veterinary drugs. Using a political economy framework and econometric investigation, we find that nations with higher income and larger population adopt stricter MRLs. We also find that countries set more stringent MRLs in their more competitive sectors. Moreover, we show that MRLs and import tariffs are policy substitutes for policy makers. Finally, we find that countries with higher regulatory quality set tougher food standards.

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