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The power and the peril: producers associations seeking rents in the Philippines and Colombia in the Twentieth Century

Ramos, Charmaine (2013) The power and the peril: producers associations seeking rents in the Philippines and Colombia in the Twentieth Century. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis investigates the collection of levies by the state from Colombian coffee and Philippine coconut producers and the delegation of authority, to mobilise and regulate the uses of the levies, to producers associations in these sectors. The thesis suggests that these activities constitute an “institutional framework” for state-engineered rents, whereby public authority is appropriated by private agents. It asks why similarly-designed institutions for allocating rents yielded different outcomes: Colombian coffee levies are associated with growth-enhancing and producer welfare-promoting investments in coffee production and marketing, while Philippine coconut levies are depicted as non-developmental rent capture by associates of a president. The thesis explains the variation in outcomes by examining the basis in political economy of the power exercised by the leading sectoral organisations, FEDECAFE in Colombia and COCOFED in the Philippines, and how they articulated this power in the mobilisation of the levies. It finds that the conditions for collective action and the exercise of power were more robust for Colombian coffee than Philippine coconut producers. This meant that while FEDECAFE directly intermediated between coffee producers and the state in the mobilisation of rents associated with coffee levies, COCOFED shared the power of mobilising rents with other individual political brokers. This variation led to differences in rent mobilisation: a process that was production-enhancing in Colombia but not in the Philippines. This work thus shows how variations in the political organisation of rent-seeking may be linked to variations in the developmental outcomes associated with the collection and deployment of such levies. Doing so, it seeks to contribute to the understanding of the political conditions under which state-engineered rents may be production-enhancing – an important question in late developing countries, where corruption may be endemic, but state-allocated rents nevertheless necessary for promoting development.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2013 Charmaine G. Ramos
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > International Development
Supervisor: Putzel, James

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