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Abstract

n the paper we provide an explanation of the persistence of the commodity titles in US farm bills that is grounded in core theories of the policy process from the political science literature. The political science literature explains policy continuity and policy change from a number of different perspectives and we use these to explain why the commodity titles of farm bills have persisted in the face of considerable opposition and how in response the Agriculture Committees have introduced incremental change to the content of farm bills to facilitate each bill’s passage. Unlike the standard approach of agricultural economists which focuses on the broader national economic efficiency impacts of farm programs, we concentrate on, narrower local political forces that affect individual Members of the Congress, and on the legislative process that created each farm bill.

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