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Anatomy of a crisis: The causes and consequences of surging food prices

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  • Headey, Derek
  • Fan, Shenggen

Abstract

"Although the potential causes and consequences of recent increases in international food prices have attracted widespread attention, many existing appraisals are superficial and/or piecemeal. This paper attempts to provide a more comprehensive review of these issues based on the best and most recent research, and includes fresh theoretical and empirical analysis. We first analyze the causes of the current crisis by considering how well standard explanations hold up against relevant economic theory and important stylized facts. Some explanations, especially rising oil prices, the depreciation of the US dollar, biofuel demand, and some commodity-specific explanations, hold up much better than some others. We then provide an appraisal of the likely macro- and microeconomic impacts of the crisis in developing countries. We observe a large gap in the effects of macro and micro factors, and note that when these factors are used to identify the most vulnerable countries, the results often point in different directions. We conclude with a brief discussion of what ought to be learned from this crisis." from authors' abstract

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series IFPRI discussion papers with number 831.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:831

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Keywords: Food prices; global food crisis; oil prices; Biofuels; poverty impacts; macroeconomic impacts;

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References

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  1. Cudjoe, Godsway & Breisinger, Clemens & Diao, Xinshen, 2008. "Local impacts of a global crisis: Food price transmission and poverty impacts in Ghana," GSSP working papers 15, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  2. Channing Arndt & Rui Benfica & Nelson Maximiano & Antonio M. D. Nucifora & James T. Thurlow, 2008. "Higher fuel and food prices: impacts and responses for Mozambique," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 39(s1), pages 497-511, November.
  3. von Braun, Joachim, 2008. "Rising food prices: What should be done?," Policy briefs 1, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  4. Derek Headey & Shenggen Fan, 2008. "Anatomy of a crisis: the causes and consequences of surging food prices," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 39(s1), pages 375-391, November.
  5. John Baffes & Bruce Gardner, 2003. "The transmission of world commodity prices to domestic markets under policy reforms in developing countries," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 159-180.
  6. Deaton, Angus, 1989. "Rice Prices and Income Distribution in Thailand: A Non-parametric Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(395), pages 1-37, Supplemen.
  7. Ivanic, Maros & Martin, Will, 2008. "Implications of higher global food prices for poverty in low-income countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4594, The World Bank.
  8. Bezemer, Dirk J & Headey, Derek, 2007. "Agriculture, Development and Urban Bias," MPRA Paper 7026, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Ng, Francis & Aksoy, M. Ataman, 2008. "Who are the net food importing countries ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4457, The World Bank.
  10. Ahmed, Akhter U. & Hill, Ruth Vargas & Smith, Lisa C. & Wiesmann, Doris M. & Frankenberger, Tim & Gulati, Kajal & Quabili, Wahidand & Yohannes, Yisehac, 2007. "The world's most deprived: Characteristics and causes of extreme poverty and hunger," 2020 vision discussion papers 43, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  11. von Braun, Joachim & Ahmed, Akhter & Asenso-Okyere, Kwadwo & Fan, Shenggen & Gulati, Ashok & Hoddinott, John & Pandya-Lorch, Rajul & Rosegrant, Mark W. & Ruel, Marie & Torero, Maximo & van Rheenen, Te, 2008. "High food prices: The what, who, and how of proposed policy actions," Policy briefs 1A, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  12. S├ębastien Dessus & Santiago Herrera & Rafael de Hoyos, 2008. "The impact of food inflation on urban poverty and its monetary cost: some back-of-the-envelope calculations," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 39(s1), pages 417-429, November.
  13. Rosen, Stacey L. & Shapouri, Shahla, 2008. "Rising Food Prices Intensify Food Insecurity in Developing Countries," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, February.
  14. Ulimwengu, John M. & Workneh, Sindu & Paulos, Zelekawork, 2009. "Impact of soaring food price in Ethiopia: Does location matter?," IFPRI discussion papers 846, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  15. Irwin, Scott H. & Garcia, Philip & Good, Darrel L., 2007. "The Performance of Chicago Board of Trade Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Futures Contracts after Recent Changes in Speculative Limits," 2007 Annual Meeting, July 29-August 1, 2007, Portland, Oregon TN 9951, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  16. Mitchell, Donald, 2008. "A note on rising food prices," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4682, The World Bank.
  17. Trostle, Ronald, 2008. "Factors Contributing to Recent Increases in Food Commodity Prices (PowerPoint)," Seminars 43902, USDA Economists Group.
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