Within a policy environment of greater attention to agriculture following the food price crises in developing countries, this Special Issue is motivated by the importance of bringing to bear new conceptual and empirical research on the determinants, trends and consequences of public expenditures in support of the agricultural sector of developing economies. This introductory article lays the groundwork by first conceptually articulating the rationale for agricultural public investments. The articles in this Special Issue add to past literature in three main ways. First, careful analysis of newly compiled data provides new information on the patterns of agricultural public expenditures across developing regions. Second, the papers provide new insights on the cross-sectoral effects of different types of public spending and their complementarities and substitutability. And third, venturing into the examination of the political economy determinants of agricultural public expenditures opens the door to an important area of sparse research.
Dans un environnement politique qui accorde une plus grande attention à l’agriculture, suite aux crises des prix des denrées alimentaires dans les pays en développement, ce numéro spécial est motivé par l’importance de mettre à profit les nouvelles recherches théoriques et empiriques sur les déterminants, les tendances, et les conséquences des dépenses publiques en faveur du secteur agricole dans les pays en développement. Cet article introductif jette les bases en exposant, de façon théorique pour commencer, le raisonnement qui sous-tend les investissements publics agricoles. Les articles de ce numéro spécial viennent s’ajouter au corps d’études existantes de trois façons principales: d’abord, une analyse minutieuse des données nouvellement compilées fournit de nouvelles informations sur les schémas de dépenses publiques agricoles dans toutes les régions en développement. Deuxièmement, les études fournissent de nouveaux aperçus sur les effets intersectoriels des différents types de dépenses publiques, sur leur complémentarité et sur leur substituabilité. Et troisièmement, s’aventurer dans l’exploration des déterminants de l’économie politique de dépenses publiques agricoles ouvre la porte à un domaine de recherche important et bien peu exploré.
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Other reviews of this topic include Fan and Brzeska (2010), which focuses on East Asia, and Fan and Rao (2008), which synthesizes the evidence exclusively from IFPRI research. Our scope encompasses all academic peer-reviewed literature on studies quantifying the impacts of and returns to public expenditures in or for agriculture.
These are consistent with earlier meta-analyses (Alston et al, 2000a, 2000b; Evenson, 2001) as well as a more recent review (Alston, 2010) of the returns to public investments in agricultural research, development and extension, which show that internal rates of return are substantial. Recent country-level studies support the findings of the comprehensive reviews (Benin et al, 2011; Suphannachart and Warr 2011).
More generally, the body of empirical work on the net effect of public on private investment in agriculture – which, incidentally, has focused overwhelmingly on South Asia (India and Pakistan, with the exception of the cross-country analysis by Easterly and Rebelo, 1993) – has been inconclusive, with about an equal balance between positive and negative or insignificant effects (Dhawan and Yadav, 1995; Mishra and Chand, 1995; Dhawan, 1996; Misra and Hazell, 1996; Mitra, 1997; Chand, 2001; Saeed et al, 2006; Ahmad and Qayyum, 2008; Baba et al, 2010).
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Mogues, T., Fan, S. & Benin, S. Public Investments in and for Agriculture. Eur J Dev Res 27, 337–352 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1057/ejdr.2015.40
- public expenditures
- public investments
- developing countries
- rural development