Determinants of Agricultural Protection: The Role of Democracy and Institutional Setting Alessandro Olper


  • Alessandro Olper

    Search for more papers by this author
    • Dipartimento di Economia e Politica Agraria, Agroalimentare e Ambientale, Universita degli Studi di Milano. Via Celoria 2, 20133 Milano, Italy. E-mail: for correspondence. The author thanks Francesco Lechi and Dario Casati for helpful comments on an earlier draft. Many thanks also to Philip E. Keefer (World Bank), for providing the BERI indicators. Lastly, the author wishes to thank the Editor and the Referees for their helpful suggestions. This research was carried out as part of the MURST (Ministero dell'Universita e della Ricerca Scientifica) project: ‘Conseguenze economiche e commerciali delle scelte di politica agricola comunitaria e internazionale’.


This paper deals with the effects of democracy and institutional setting on agricultural protection in 35 developed and developing countries during 1982–1992. Regression analysis is conducted to test the effects of three alternative measures of democracy and two composite indices of the quality of institutions that protect and enforce property rights. After controlling for many other political and economic determinants of agricultural protection, the paper shows that democracy affects protection positively, but it is not the level of democracy per se that seems to matter. On the contrary there is strong evidence that the quality of institutions that protect and enforce property rights is a key determinant of agricultural protection. This empirical result is robust to changes in institutional proxy, country sample and statistical problems.