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Abstract

Brazil, the world's largest coffee exporter, encouraged efforts in the 1960s to form the International Coffee Agreement (ICA), which restricted total coffee exports via country export quotas. The quotas led to significant domestic quota rents in producing countries. This paper analyzes the effects of rent seeking in Brazil. The Brazilian Institute of Coffee (IBC), which was responsible for coffee policy, was the focus of rent seeking. The paper models the policy instruments used by the IBC, shows how rent seeking affected policy, industry efficiency and the distribution of rents, explains the causes and effects of IBC reforms in the late 1980s, and draws lessons from the experience.

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