Decoupling agricultural support has become a central feature of reforms in most OECD countries due to international and domestic constraints. There is evidence that this movement can reduce economic ineffi ciencies and contribute to improving policy design. Not all the characteristics, however, of recent new support programmes, reduce their impact on production. Moving from price support to area payments and granting more freedom in the use of the supported resources makes programmes more decoupled, but making payments counter-cyclical based on current production or market variables tends to exacerbate the production response of risk averse farmers. When all the effects are taken into consideration – relative prices, risk and dynamic effects – all agricultural support programmes have some impact on production and thus the degree of decoupling needs to be estimated empirically. Recent studies have expanded our scarce knowledge of these issues. They confi rm the partial decoupling of area payments, like those in the EU after 1992, as well as the larger degree of decoupling that results from more production freedom, as in the Production Flexibility Contract payments in the US and the recent Single Farm Payment in the EU. But the total magnitude of the production effects depends on policy design and ‘size’, since high levels of partially decoupled support can have potentially signifi cant effects on production.
- CAP Reform
- Common Agricultural Policy