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Global Oil Prices and Local Food Prices: Evidence from East Africa


  • Brian M. Dillon
  • Christopher B. Barrett


It is widely believed that oil prices impact food prices in developing countries. Yet rigorous evidence on this relationship is scarce. Using maize and petrol price data from east Africa, we show that global oil prices do affect food prices but primarily through transport costs, rather than through biofuel or production cost channels. We find that global oil prices transmit much more rapidly to the pump and then to local maize prices than do global maize prices, suggesting that the immediate effects of correlated commodity price shocks on local food prices are driven more by transport costs than by the prices of the grains themselves. Furthermore, we present suggestive evidence that, for markets furthest inland, changes in world oil prices have larger effects on local maize prices than do changes in world maize prices.

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  • Brian M. Dillon & Christopher B. Barrett, 2016. "Global Oil Prices and Local Food Prices: Evidence from East Africa," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 98(1), pages 154-171.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:98:y:2016:i:1:p:154-171.

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