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Abstract

The term "cheap food policy" has frequently been used as a descriptor for U.S. commodity programs by those who contend these payments to farmers ultimately result in lower food costs for consumers. More recently, farm policy has been criticized for contributing to the obesity problem in the U.S. by making large quantities of fattening foods widely available and relatively inexpensive. This paper econometrically evaluates the impact of direct government payments to farmers from 1960-1999 on the proportion of disposable income consumers spend on food. The model finds the payments do not significantly affect the affordability of food.

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