An economic crisis can be considered as a man-made disaster with the characteristics as an aggregate shock, thus complicating and hindering mutual insurance or help in local communities. This paper investigates the dynamics of productivity in prewar rural Japan and examines which farm households were more vulnerable to the Great Depression, as a representative example of aggregate shocks that have a serious impact on rural sectors. First, using panel data from farm households collected by the Imperial Agricultural Association (Teikoku Nokai), we measured the Malmquist productivity index (MPI) and decomposed it into technical change and efficiency change for the period of 1924-1933. Second, with this panel data, we investigated which farm households were more vulnerable to aggregate shocks. Our main findings are as follows. First, although the MPI declined rapidly after the Great Depression due to the technical and efficiency change, this rapid decline in productivity was temporary. Second, the vulnerability of farm households to aggregate shocks differed by region, and large-scale farmers were relatively robust to them. These differences in vulnerability across farm size may have triggered the structural changes in Japan’s prewar agriculture after the Great Depression. Our findings shed light on the dynamics of farm household behavior in prewar Japan from the micro and quantitative perspectives.
This study aims to evaluate the competition among farmers’ markets in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture from three points of view. First, it examines spatial autocorrelation among farmers’ markets using a spatial econometric model and shows their agglomeration pattern on a map. Second, it calculates the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index, based on the sales floor area,and displays the results on the map using geographic information system. Third, it evaluates the relationship between the structure and sales of farmers' markets using the first-difference estimator approach. Main findings suggest that intense competition within 3-6 km of a market decreases sales. This causes the dispersion of farmers’ markets in areas within a 3 km radius from the market and agglomeration in areas within a 12 km radius from the market.
The purpose of this paper is to clarify the recent developments and the outlook for trade negotiations, taking into account the background of the Doha-Round negotiations and the current negotiation position of the WTO members. The results are as follows. The Doha-Round negotiations were carried out under the Doha mandate, which was recognized as giving special and different treatment to developing countries. However, there was an assertion of the need for a new approach at the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi 2015. In other words, the pros and cons of the continuity of the Doha-Round negotiations were stipulated in the Nairobi Ministerial Declaration. There were fierce arguments between developed countries and developing countries as to whether emerging economies such as China that have undergone economic development should be treated as developing countries. In addition to this problem, there are a lot of serious issues surrounding the WTO, such as the progress of the EPA/FTA, the U.S. trade policy under the Trump administration, the issue of the members of the Appellate Body in the WTO, the interpretation of national security concerning Article 21 of the GATT and the issue of handling public stockholdings for food security purposes. Despite these circumstances, the existence of the WTO is extremely important for its function in promoting free trade. In particular, it can be said that the WTO is significant in terms of being able to unify many trade rules by releasing countries from the complexity of rules created by the EPA/FTA. As Japan's economy depends heavily on trade and has achieved economic development through trade, Japan needs to positively engage in promoting the WTO not only at the administrative level but also through various international meetings such as those at the top level and the ministerial level.
The negotiation on agriculture in the Uruguay Round of the GATT (UR) created commitments on reduction of trade-distorting payments in three dimensions : domestic support, market access and export competition. The outcome of the UR was synthesized into the WTO agreements, and all of the member countries were required to accept the agreements as a whole without any exceptions. On the other hand, they also contained special and differential treatment (S&D) of developing countries. The levels of reduction of tariffs after tariffication, aggregated measurement of support (AMS) and values of export subsidies and amounts of their targets were kept at two-thirds of the regular requirements. Trends in world agricultural trade from 1995 to 2000 showed an increase in export amount, especially the amount of soybeans and primary commodities such as coffee, cocoa beans and palm oil. However, export values of almost all major products decreased except for soybeans and poultry. These changes, caused mainly by decreases in price, seem to express the trade expansion effects of market liberalization by WTO agreements without remarkable gain of developing countries exporting agricultural commodities. Therefore, the discontent of these countries surged, and they strongly requested to set the new negotiations as a “development agenda”. World agricultural export expanded in both value and amount in the 2000s, and prices of major produce skyrocketed in 2007 and 2008. Then the prices plunged into a dive in 2009 but quickly recovered in 2010. The exports of cereals and soybeans have remained at high levels, meat exports have increased steadily, and primary commodity prices have fluctuated sharply. The exporters of cereals, soybeans and meat have benefited little from the more liberalized market. On the other hand, the exporters of primary commodities and the net food importers still face fragile situations. The negotiation on agriculture in the Doha Development Agenda should pay more attention to the interests of these fragile countries in order to be more effective as a “development agenda.”
Developing countries have enjoyed the benefits of a free trade regime under the WTO in the 21st century. President Trump, who pledged to exercise an “America First” policy, has made policies which devolve such a liberalization of trade and investment. In this paper, we try to predict the future course of trade and investment liberalization under the “America First” policy. For that purpose, first, we examine the reasons that WTO negotiations for trade liberalization have begun to flounder. Then, we investigate the future course of FTA/EPAs, especially, the TPP and RCEP which are considered to influence the success of multilateral trade negotiation. For the TPP, we discuss whether the number of countries which participate in the TPP will increase, without the USA, and whether the USA will participate in the TPP again. For the RCEP, in which 16 countries have held meetings for promoting negotiations, we compare the existing bilateral EPAs between two among those 16 countries to reveal the factors which prevent a negotiation consensus. Further, we also examine whether the plans for WTO reform proposed by the EU and Japan can induce the USA and China, who are the most influential countries, to comply with WTO regulations. Finally, we make a prediction about the future course of trade agreement, standing in the position of developing countries.
Agriculture and food in Japan have characteristics of a newly developed country. In addition, its trade in agricultural products differs from that of developed countries on new continents or the EU, depending largely on the food and feed imported from abroad. Long-term analysis of these characteristics will be especially useful for further development of Monsoon Asian countries. Japan’s agricultural trade policy reflects two viewpoints which differ from the classical theory of free trade. One is concern about food security and the other is respect for multi-functional roles of agriculture. Regarding food security, we should be careful about the difference between the concept in developed countries and developing countries. Multi-functionality can commonly be respected among EU and Asian countries ; both have a long history of rural areas. Taking into consideration international income disparity, there is some concern about the FTA and EPA system.
Using 128 domestic and international monthly price series of four commodities, this study demonstrates how and to what extent warehouse service affects seasonality of food prices in Ethiopia. The study also examines the characteristics and degree of food price seasonality in the country. Our result shows that there is significant variation in the seasonal gap amongst crops - i.e. the highest seasonal gap being for maize (20%). We also find that 10-14% of monthly price volatility in Ethiopia is explained by its seasonality. Most importantly, our result reveals that availability of warehouse service has lessen the food price seasonal gap in Ethiopia.
Since around 2000 rice demand has been increasing in SSA due to urbanization, and urban consumers prefer aromatic rice imported from Asian countries. Recently a new aromatic rice variety was introduced in Ghana. If farmers are to respond to urban demand, they should be more likely to choose this market-oriented variety. This study examines the impact of this new aromatic variety on farmers. Results show that farmers who adopt this variety achieve higher yield but no higher profit. Larger production costs and little price advantage in the local market may be the reasons.
This paper examines the transferability of Green Revolution technologies in Sub-Saharan Africa through the assessment of a technology training project in Northern Ghana. The main results are as follows : First, the training project successfully improved the adoption rates of four technologies : dibbling in line/drilling, bund building/repairing, modern varieties, and fertilizer usage. Second, the adoption rates became higher in villages where longer time had passed since the training. Third, inter-village diffusion of technology took longer time than intra-village one.