agricultural subsidies, legislation, agricultural regulation, agricultural policy, farm bill, food prices, agencies, lobbyists, interst groups, public choice

Document Type



Among the most important functions we have afforded to the U.S. Congress is the power to reshape social and economic incentive structures through legislation. Proceeding from the enumerated powers under the Constitution and using a complex toolbox of legislative and regulatory innovations, the federal legislature has enormous power to transform the types of behavior that people will perceive as self-interested throughout our economy and thus how those same people are likely to act. Congress can, among other things, create new forms of criminal and civil liability, establish entitlement systems, subsidize industries, encourage behavior through the tax code, regulate interactions among producers and consumers, set market ground-rules, and limit the scope of permissible activity.