Taxpayer Preferences for Farm Policy and USDA Budget Expenditures

Current debates on food and farm policy would benefit from an improved understanding of the public’s demand for the services provided by the USDA. We determine taxpayer’s preferences for six categories of USDA expenditures using data from a nationwide survey of almost 1,200 taxpayers. We find that taxpayers believe food safety and inspection is the most important service provided by the USDA. Although there is significant heterogeneity in people’s preferences, our results reveal that at current expenditure levels, most consumers are willing to give up some of the outcomes and benefits provided by expenditures on farm support programs to obtain more of the benefits and services provided by expenditures on food safety and inspection, natural resources and environment, research and education, and rural development. However, the opposite is true of food assistance programs; most taxpayers would support a reallocation of USDA expenditures away from food assistance toward farm support programs.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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