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Citation Information

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Doctor of Philosophy
Title The power and the peril: producers associations seeking rents in the Philippines and Colombia in the Twentieth Century
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
URL http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/968/1/Ramos_The_Power_and_the_Peril.pdf
Abstract
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 growthenhancing
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.

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