Open Economies: Structural Adjustment and Agriculture

Many of the structural adjustment programmes applied in developing countries and more recently in Eastern Europe have targeted their agricultural sectors, which account for major shares of economic activity and income. Liberalizing agricultural trade has major effects on income distribution and hence potentially significant implications for the political economy of reform. These fundamental effects on the organization of economic activity and the relative positions of different economic sectors remain, however, a neglected issue of policy analysis. In this volume, derived from a joint conference held by the CEPR and the OECD Development Centre in Paris in April 1991, leading international experts explicitly consider such open economy dimensions to structural adjustment. They focus in particular on the relation of domestic to international reforms; the sequencing of trade, sectoral and other reforms; the impact of structural adjustment on infrastructure and investment; the design of policy programmes to stabilize income and agricultural prices in open economies; and the implications for public finance of agricultural reform. They also assess the prospects for the success of trade reform in increasing agricultural competitiveness in world markets, focusing in particular on the circumstances in which the 'small country assumption' is violated and the policy implications of its violation.