Taxation and Pricing of Agricultural and Industrial Goods
NBER Working Paper No. 1338 (Also Reprint No. r1011)
This paper presents an analysis of price reform and of optimal pricing and taxation of agricultural and industrial goods in modern-day LDCs. Our analysis is based on a general equilibrium paradigm with a multitude of goods and income groups. It is consistent with several alternative institutional structures with in the agricultural and the industrial sectors, as well as with alternative hypotheses concerning unemployment and migration of labor across the two sectors.This approach differs substantially from the standard tax literature with regard to the structure of the economy and the set of admissible taxes.The rules of price reform which we derive are quite simple to implement, requiring only the knowledge of observable parameters such as price elasticities of demand and supply. The determination of optimal prices (and taxes) requires, in addition, the relative welfare weights on individuals' incomes and on investment. We show that it is desirable, ingeneral, to levy import and export taxes. Among new results are those presenting conditions under which all of the goods belonging to certain categories (such as all purchased agricultural inputs or all agricultural outputs which are not consumed) should be either taxed or stibsidized.