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Agricultural Input Subsidies: The Recent Malawi Experience

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ISBN: 9780199683529 Year: Pages: 320 DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199683529.001.0001 Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press Grant: OAPEN-UK
Subject: Economics --- Social Sciences
Added to DOAB on : 2013-10-11 21:10:22
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Abstract

Agricultural input subsidies were a major feature of development policies in rural economies until the 1980s. Continuing rural poverty with low productivity and fertilizer use in smallholder staple crops has led to their resurgence in Africa. These subsidies are, however, controversial with claims of both large food security benefits and unsustainable, inefficient resource use. This book reviews current theory and evidence on the strengths and weaknesses of these programmes and the effects of programme context, design, and implementation. Theoretical arguments for agricultural subsidies are based on input promotion where farmers’ private costs (benefits) are higher (lower) than wider economic costs (benefits). These arguments, and concerns about inefficiency and diversion, are reviewed and extended to consider input affordability constraints and ‘smart’ rationing and targeting. Recent programmes in Africa have a variety of generally producer-focused objectives, with varied implementation and programme outcomes. Most pay little attention to consumer interests and potential contributions to wider growth. A detailed examination of Malawi’s controversial agricultural input subsidy programme follows. Drawing on a wide range of information sources, the political and agro-economic contexts of the programme are examined, with evidence on its implementation and impacts from 2005 to 2011. Positive impacts are recorded on beneficiaries’ production, incomes, food consumption, school enrolment, child health, and reduced need for earnings from undertaking casual labour for others. There is evidence of indirect economy-wide impacts, but this is not as strong as might be expected. Targeting and graduation are identified as critically important issues requiring continuing attention.

Blame It On the WTO: A Human Rights Critique

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ISBN: 9780199689767 Year: Pages: 327 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_454396 Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press Grant: OAPEN-UK
Subject: Law --- Economics --- Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2013-10-01 07:26:06
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The World Trade Organization (WTO) is often accused of, at best, not paying enough attention to human rights or, at worst, facilitating and perpetuating human rights abuses. This book weighs these criticisms and examines their validity, incorporating legal arguments as well as some economic and political science perspectives. After introducing the respective WTO and human rights regimes, and discussing their legal and normative relationship to each other, the book presents a detailed analysis of the main human rights concerns relating to the WTO. These include the alleged democratic deficit within the Organization and the impact of WTO rules on the right to health, labour rights, the right to food, and on questions of poverty and development. Given that some of the most important issues within the WTO concern its impact on poor people within developing States, the book asks whether rich States have an obligation to the people of poorer States to construct a fairer trading system that better facilitates the alleviation of poverty and development. Against this background, the book examines the current Doha round proposals as well as suggestions for reform of the WTO to make it more ‘human rights-friendly’.

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2013 (2)