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Food Aid: A Cause of Development Failure or an Instrument for Success?

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  • Srinivasan, T N

Abstract

The role of food aid in furthering the economic development of poor countries and in alleviating the adverse effects on the poor of structural and sectoral adjustment programs is discussed. A simple analytical framework for evaluating the incentive and welfare impact of food aid is suggested. Domestic and international markets for food historically have been subject to severe distortions, leading to ever-growing food stocks in some, mainly rich, countries while in others, largely poor, many cannot afford to consume enough food. The possible impact of distortion-free global food markets is sketched. The use of surplus food for payment of wages in rural works programs has often been proposed as a means to create productive assets while alleviating poverty. Using an applied general equilibrium model of the Indian economy, it is shown that a well-designed and efficiently implemented food-for-work program can virtually eliminate abject poverty in India at a modest cost. Experience with food aid in several other countries is also briefly discussed. Copyright 1989 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Srinivasan, T N, 1989. "Food Aid: A Cause of Development Failure or an Instrument for Success?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 3(1), pages 39-65, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:3:y:1989:i:1:p:39-65
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    Cited by:

    1. Max Blouin & Stéphane Pallage, 2008. "Humanitarian Relief and Civil Conflict," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 52(4), pages 548-565, August.
    2. Abdulai, Awudu & Barrett, Christopher B. & Hazell, Peter, 2004. "Food aid for market development in Sub-Saharan Africa," DSGD discussion papers 5, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Herrmann, Roland & Prinz, Carlo & Schenck, Patricia, 1992. "A Relationship between Food Aid and Food Trade: Theoretical Analysis and Quantitative Results," Occasional Paper Series No. 6 197872, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    4. Barrett, Christopher B., 2002. "Food Aid And Commercial International Food Trade," Working Papers 14742, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    5. Lavy, Victor, 1990. "Alleviating transitory food crisis in Africa : international altruism and trade," Policy Research Working Paper Series 494, The World Bank.
    6. Lavy, Victor, 1990. "Does food aid depress food production? The disincentive dilemma in the African context," Policy Research Working Paper Series 460, The World Bank.
    7. Colding, Bjorg & Pinstrup-Andersen, Per, 1999. "Denmark's contribution to the world food programme: a success story," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 93-108, February.

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