Policy Briefs

The GSI's Policy Brief series offers concise analysis on a broad range of topical subsidy issues. It aims to promote public debate on the social, environmental and economic impacts of subsidies; to provide insights into the public policies that underlie these subsidies; and to highlight opportunities for reforms that would further sustainable development.

Cultivating Governance: Cautionary Tales for Biofuel Policy Reformers

The policy brief analyzes the current developments around the emerging U-turns on government support to biofuels internationally. Based on desk research as well as interviews with stakeholders, it seeks to provide guidance for biofuel policy reformers on good governance principles in view of pressures from different interest groups.

Recent Developments in Iran's Energy Subsidy Reforms

In 2010, Iran undertook bold economic reforms to phase out energy subsidies. This policy brief outlines recent developments since the reforms were implemented and sheds some light on how the reforms – once referred to as the country’s “grand economic surgery” – have affected Iran.

Should We be Concerned About Competition Between Food and Fuel?

This policy brief discusses the impact of European Union and United States consumption targets on food commodity prices and provides a number of recommendations to help reduce competition between already constrained agricultural markets and increasing biofuel production.

Rio+20: A Pledge to Phase Out Fossil-Fuel Subsidies

IISD has proposed a national pledge for U.N. member countries to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies that undermine sustainable development.

We "Ask Your Government!" How Much Fossil-Fuel Subsidies Cost

In 2010, the International Budget Partnership (IBP) asked governments, “What was the total amount actually incurred during the past three fiscal years on subsidies for oil, gas and coal production and consumption?” How did they respond?

Corruption and Fraud in Agricultural and Energy Subsidies: Identifying the Key Issues

Governments appear willing to provide publically funded subsidy programs totalling billions of dollars, but they commit significantly fewer resources to monitor these programs effectively to prevent fraud and or corruption. This policy brief identifies some of the main areas of subsidy policy affected by fraud and corruption, providing examples of some high profile cases.

Delivering on G-20 Commitments: The Path to Fossil-Fuel Subsidy Reform

This brief summarizes what the G-20 has done to reform fossil-fuel subsidies, up to and including the G-20 Toronto Summit in June 2010. It also outlines a roadmap for the phase out of fossil-fuel subsidies into the future.

Measuring Irrigation Subsidies: Policy Recommendations From A Spanish Case Study

This policy brief draws out the lessons learned from the GSI's study on irrigation subsidies in Spain.

A How-to Guide: Measuring Subsidies to Fossil-Fuel Producers

This policy brief identifies how different types of subsidy can be measured using different methodologies, particularly fossil-fuel producer subsidies. It is the second stage in the GSI's recommended 3-step process for planning subsidy reform: define, measure and evaluate. Where relevant, it refers readers to the GSI's in-depth technical manual, Subsidy Estimation: A Survey of Current Practice

Delivering on The G-20 Commitment to Reform Fossil-Fuel Subsidies: Essential Outcomes From Toronto

This policy brief summarizes G-20 country activity since the Pittsburgh Summit and what needs to be done next. It focuses in particular on the outcomes that need to result from the Toronto Summit on 26-27 June 2010.

Defining Fossil-Fuel Subsidies for The G-20: Which Approach Is Best?

The G-20's efforts to progress fossil-fuel subsidy reform have revived an old debate: what is a subsidy? In this policy brief, the GSI recommends a three-step process to define, measure and evaluate subsidies, beginning with a broad definition that covers preferential treatment in all its forms.

"Saving Lives, Buying Time": Lessons in Good Subsidy Design From The Affordable Medicines Facility - Malaria

This policy brief reviews the design of the Affordable Medicines Facility - malaria (AMFm) program as an example of a best-practice subsidy.

Building Fossil-Fuel Subsidy Reform: Have We Got All The Blocks?

This policy brief outlines the building blocks needed to implement a multilateral program to reform fossil-fuel subsidies on a global scale.

Car-Scrapping Schemes: An Effective Economic Rescue Policy?

This policy brief assesses the performance of car-scrapping schemes in Germany, Spain, France, the U.K. and the U.S. against their stated policy objectives.

Achieving The G-20 Call to Phase Out Subsidies to Fossil Fuels

Following the September 2009 Pittsburgh Summit, this policy brief explores what G-20 countries need to do to follow through on their commitment to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies.