Food and Power: Agricultural Policy Under Democracy and Dictatorship

Comparative Politics 49(2): 273-293

33 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2015 Last revised: 8 Nov 2018

See all articles by Henry Thomson

Henry Thomson

Arizona State University; Arizona State University (ASU) - Center for the Study of Economic Liberty

Date Written: September 1, 2014

Abstract

Agricultural policy is a key determinant of development outcomes and has large effects on global trade flows. However, scholars cannot fully explain variation in these policies because they have not examined how they are made under authoritarian governments. I argue that agricultural policy under autocracy is a function of the power of producers and consumers to organize collectively and threaten the stability of authoritarian regimes. Higher levels of agricultural support occur under autocracy when landholding inequality creates a smaller, richer and better-organized group of farmers. When food consumers are concentrated in urban areas and not divided by income inequality, they pose a greater threat of unrest. This leads autocracies to provide lower levels of agricultural support and lower food prices.

Keywords: agriculture, development, authoritarianism, food policy

JEL Classification: D72, O13, Q13, Q18, Q15

Suggested Citation

Thomson, Henry, Food and Power: Agricultural Policy Under Democracy and Dictatorship (September 1, 2014). Comparative Politics 49(2): 273-293. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2597852 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2597852

Henry Thomson (Contact Author)

Arizona State University ( email )

Tempe, AZ
United States

Arizona State University (ASU) - Center for the Study of Economic Liberty

United States

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