Food and agriculture have been subject to heavy-handed government interventions throughout much of history and across the globe, in both developing and developed countries. Political considerations are crucial to understand these policies, since almost all agricultural and food policies have redistributive effects and are therefore subject to lobbying and pressure from interest groups and are used by decision makers to influence society for both economic and political reasons.

This chapter discusses political models and coalitions and reviews political economy explanations of (1) policies that primarily redistribute income between different groups in society and (2) policies that also stimulate growth, reduce externalities, or increase investments in public goods.

JEL classifications: F13, Q11, Q17, Q18