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Abstract

The conventional view that economists play an important role in the public policy process is contrasted with "Chicago political economy." This strand of the Chicago School of Economics argues that government programs that survive in the political process are superior to available alternatives. In contrast, it is shown here that a farm program may persist not because it is broadly beneficial but rather because information and incentive problems in the political process lead to perverse results. The conclusion is that agricultural economists can make an important contribution to public policy.

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