Logo Doctoral Certificate Program in Agricultural Economics Deutsch

Module 2300
Political Economy of Agriculture in Developing and Emerging Economies


Professor Dr Thomas Herzfeld (herzfeld@iamo.de) is head of the Department Agricultural Policy, IAMO and taught courses in Agricultural and Food Policy, Microeconomics, and Economic Modelling at Universities in Kiel, Wageningen and Halle-Wittenberg.

Course Description

The course takes place at IAMO, Conference Room II, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO), Theodor-Lieser-Str. 2, 06120 Halle. The course would be taught every (even) year in October.
This one-week course will introduce PhD researchers to the major theories and models of the Political Economy of Agriculture, will discuss them based on a simulation, and will apply them to empirical cases from developing countries and countries in transition.

Learning objectives

In this module, students will

Course Outline

The course consists of lectures, individual assignments and one simulation. In a simulation, a real-world situation is recreated in which participants take up different roles in order to explore key mechanisms that are at work in such a situation. After the simulation, different theoretical approaches will be presented and discussed in their applicability to phenomena in the simulation. Furthermore, participants will be introduced to case studies from Africa and Asia and will apply theories to analyse those case studies.

Organization and time

This is a one week block course which will be held at IAMO. There are some preparatory tasks to be fulfilled before the course takes place.

Before the course

Three to two weeks before the Module starts, participants will be sent an outline of the different stakeholders in the simulation. They are asked to send a brief introduction to their educational background and a short motivation for favouring a certain role in the simulation. They will then be allocated a role, which they fulfil together with another PhD student. The team of two will prepare a role strategy before the course begins, which they send to the lecturers one week in advance. Additionally, participants are expected to read one paper out of a selection which will be distributed before the course starts.

One week Module

The course will be divided into three parts:

The course would hence provide a rich combination of theoretical and experiential learning on the political economy of agriculture in developing / transition countries, as well as learning on the application of theories.


Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
09:00 – 13:00 Welcome / Introduction Simulation Introduction to theories, Voting Models Autocracies Explaining pro-consumer/ urban policy bias Explaining the shift to pro-agricultural policies,
Applications: Comparison of agricultural support/taxation between DCs and HICs
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Comparison of approaches
14:00 – 17:00 Simulation Simulation Applications Applications  

Core literature

Anderson, K., ed. 2010. The Political Economy of Agricultural Price Distortions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Anderson, K., G.C. Rausser, and J.F.M. Swinnen. 2013. "Political Economy of Public Policies: Insights from Distortions to Agricultural and Food Markets." Journal of Economic Literature 51(2):423-477.

Exemplary case on the use of a simulation in agro-environmental contexts:

Stefanska, J., P. Magnuszewski, J. Sendzimir, P. Romaniuk, T. Taillieu, A. Dubel, Z. Flachner, and P. Balogh. 2011. “A Gaming Exercise to Explore Problem-Solving versus Relational Activities for River Floodplain Management.” Environmental Policy and Governance 21:454 – 471.

There may also be additional background material for the theory parts in the book 'Reasons behind estimated distortion patterns of the past five decades' published by K. Anderson and co-authors, which is available (freely) under the link https://goo.gl/w39hEh as a working paper series.