Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Research 5:1 (February 1995). Copyright © 1995 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


M. C. Hallberg is a professor of agricultural economics at Pennsylvania State University and this book treats agricultural policy almost exclusively from that disciplinary perspective. For Hallberg, agricultural policy is largely confined to the various market interventions of national governments, particularly those programs that have been put in place to regulate farm production, prices and incomes. The book is organized into four parts. The first section includes three chapters dealing with the nature of agricultural policy and the legislative and political processes that produce U.S. farm programs. The second section includes two chapters designed to provide an analytical framework for the study of the effects of agricultural policies. This framework amounts to a slightly modified version of the economist's preferred analytical tool of benefit-cost analysis. The third section is the longest, containing six chapters in which the analytical framework is used to discuss various policy mechanisms, international trade, and the environment. The final section consists of one chapter setting out Hallberg's thoughts on the future of agricultural policy in the United States. The book also includes a useful appendix chronicling the history of U.S. farm policy and a glossary of the technical terms used in policy discussions.