Comparing reform of agricultural policy in Bangladesh, Chile, China and New Zealand, this paper derives lessons for countries contemplating reform.
In all cases reforms to farm policy were undertaken as part of overall reforms across the whole economy, started in response to a perceived national crisis and usually implemented by new governments with a mandate to make major changes. Political will is, not surprisingly, a necessary condition.
In designing reforms and their implementation, much depends on context, including external conditions such as world market prices. The scope for change, and certainly the sequence and pace of reform, may be as much a matter of administrative feasibility as choice.
Where outcomes are uncertain and state capacity limited, gradual approaches to reform that allow for learning may be better than swift and comprehensive ‘big bang’ packages.