The 1994 congressional elections brought expectations of policy reform that extended to agriculture. This paper examines the role of economic analysis and how policymakers made use of it in developing the policies of the Agricultural Reconciliation Act, also known as the Freedom to Farm Act. Budget reduction pressures, other/secondary policy objectives, and a closed debate led to the system of fixed, declining payments to farmers that characterize an economist's solution, without the direct participation of economists, to interventionist government policy. Left unanswered are questions of political stability of the policy and whether the direct payments themselves are adequate or excessive.


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