Policy Seminar

Agricultural Price Distortions, Inequality, and Poverty

May 3, 2010 - 04:15 pm to 05:45 pm UTC


The prices of farm products, namely food products, are crucial determinants of the extent of poverty and inequality in the world. The vast majority of the world’s poorest households considerably depend on farming for income while spending a large proportion of that limited income on food. For generations, food prices have been heavily distorted by government policies in both developed and developing countries. Despite attempts made by many countries to reform agricultural price and trade policies in the 1980s, there is still significant government policy intervention that continues to favor farmers in high-income countries at the expense of those in developing countries.

This seminar will address the effects of agricultural and trade policies around the world on national and regional economic welfare, income inequality between and within countries, and the level and incidence of poverty in developing countries.

Kym Anderson is Professor of Economics and Foundation Executive Director of the Centre for International Economic Studies (CIES) at the University of Adelaide in Australia; since 2004 he has been on extended leave at the World Bank's Development Research Group as Lead Economist (Trade Policy).

Will Martin is Research Manager, Agriculture and Rural Development, in the Development Research Group at the World Bank.

David Orden is a senior research fellow in the Markets, Trade and Institutions Division at IFPRI.