Agricultural and Food Policy

Course content

Policies and regulation affecting the agro-food sector involve several sensitive areas such as food safety, the environment and rural employment and are therefore often being debated in the media. For the same reasons, the agro-food sector is highly regulated and international trade in agricultural goods is subject to numerous distorting government interventions. In this course you will learn about some of the most common agricultural and food policies and their economic impacts. The course builds on skills obtained through a B.Sc. degree in Agricultural Economics or a similar field. In particular, it is expected that the students have some prior knowledge of microeconomics, public economics and econometrics. Using formal economic models we will analyse, for example, how regulation affects the competitiveness of the agricultural sector and how to design optimal policies when there are market failures such as information asymmetries and imperfect competition. In addition to the theoretical analysis we will discuss results from empirical studies evaluating specific agricultural and food policies, e.g. the short-lived Danish “fat tax” or the Chinese trade liberalization in connection with its WTO accession.


MSc Programme in Agricultural Economics
MSc Programme in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

Learning outcome

The main objective of this course is to provide a theoretical framework and practical skills for analysing the impact of various agricultural and food policies and for designing optimal policies. Another objective is to familiarise students with empirical studies and methodologies for evaluating agro-food policies and enable them to critically discuss the validity of results in light of the underlying model assumptions. Upon having completed this course the student is expected to be able to:


  • Point out stylized features of common agricultural and food policies in a welfare economic framework

  • Provide examples of specific agricultural and food policies, i.e. their objectives and policy instruments, from both developing and developed countries

  • Describe and quantify the level and composition of a country’s agricultural support based on the OECD methodology


  • Carry out an analysis of the impact of a policy in formal economic model

  • Analyse optimal policy design in relation to specific assumptions regarding market structure

  • Characterize agricultural policy reform in terms of the level and composition of support

  • Evaluate the validity and robustness of findings from empirical studies on agricultural and food policy


  • Conduct an independent economic analysis of an agro-food policy

  • Work in groups on agricultural support and food policy issues

  • Analyse a country’s agricultural policies in terms of objectives, policy instruments, and welfare impacts

Lectures followed by group work. Student presentations based on reports or scientific studies related to the topic of the lecture. During these presentations the students will provide background information on specific agricultural and food policies of their own choice and discuss their economic impact.

Selected scientific journal articles and textbook sections. A literature list will be announced at the beginning of the course.

Students should have a reasonable understanding of mathematics and econometrics. As the core of the course is based on analysis of microeconomic models the students need an understanding of microeconomics and/or public economics corresponding to a bachelor degree in Agricultural Economics (or a similar field), to benefit from this course.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 2 hours under invigilation
Continuous assessment
2 hour written examination
Group based essay on an agro-food policy of their own choice
The final written examination and the essay each count 50% of the final grade.
The course has been selected for ITX exam at Peter Bangs Vej.
All aids allowed

NB: If the exam is held at the ITX, the ITX will provide you a computer. Private computer, tablet or mobile phone CANNOT be brought along to the exam. Books and notes should be brought on paper or saved on a USB key.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners/co-examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

The assessment is based on the criteria given by the Learning Outcomes

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 32
  • Colloquia
  • 50
  • Preparation
  • 120
  • Exam
  • 4
  • English
  • 206