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Abstract

United States monetary and fiscal policies influence the domestic agricultural economy directly and, through international linkages, indirectly. This study estimates the magnitude and statistical influence of coefficients relating U.S. macroeconomic policy to the U.S. agricultural economy through domestic and foreign markets. Specific objectives are to specify and estimate a general equilibrium quarterly econometric model of the U.S. macroeconomy and simulate the impact of federal deficit spending on real interest rates, real exchange rates, and net exports of agricultural products. Three hypotheses were tested. The first hypothesis that an increase in federal deficit spending increases the real interest rate could not be rejected; a $100 billion reduction in the U.S. deficit was estimated to reduce real interest rates by two percentage points or more. The second hypothesis that an increase in real interest rate increases the real value of the U.S. dollar in foreign exchange markets had strong support and could not be rejected. A third hypothesis that a rise in the real value of the dollar reduces net exports of U.S. farm products also could not be rejected. Results indicate that the U.S. agriculture would benefit from the lower exchange value associated with an 'optimal' macroeconomic policy. That policy initially made the overall U.S. economy perform less satisfactorily but that performance improves over time.

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