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Trade Insulation as Social Protection

In: The Economics of Food Price Volatility

Author

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  • Quy-Toan Do
  • Andrei A. Levchenko
  • Martin Ravallion

Abstract

In a world with volatile food prices, countries have an incentive to shelter their populations from induced real income shocks. When some agents are net food producers while others are net consumers, there is scope for insurance between the two groups. A domestic social protection scheme would therefore transfer resources away from the former group to the latter in times of high food prices, and do the reverse otherwise. This paper shows that in the presence of consumer preference heterogeneity, implementing the optimal social protection policy can potentially induce higher food price volatility. Such policy indeed generates a counter-cyclical demand shock that amplifies the effects of the underlying food shortage. The results call for a reassessment of food stabilization policies. In particular, the authors urge caution against the systematic condemnation of trade insulation practices.
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Suggested Citation

  • Quy-Toan Do & Andrei A. Levchenko & Martin Ravallion, 2014. "Trade Insulation as Social Protection," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Food Price Volatility, pages 345-366 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12820
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andrei A. Levchenko, 2005. "Financial Liberalization and Consumption Volatility in Developing Countries," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 52(2), pages 237-259, September.
    2. Leblebicioglu, AslI, 2009. "Financial integration, credit market imperfections and consumption smoothing," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 377-393, February.
    3. Christophe Gouel & Sébastien Jean, 2015. "Optimal Food Price Stabilization in a Small Open Developing Country," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, pages 72-101.
    4. Will Martin & Kym Anderson, 2012. "Export Restrictions and Price Insulation During Commodity Price Booms," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(2), pages 422-427.
    5. Avinash Dixit, 2005. "Trade And Insurance With Moral Hazard," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: An Inframarginal Approach To Trade Theory, chapter 4, pages 53-74 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    6. Ivanic, Maros & Martin, Will & Zaman, Hassan, 2012. "Estimating the Short-Run Poverty Impacts of the 2010–11 Surge in Food Prices," World Development, Elsevier, pages 2302-2317.
    7. Dixit, Avinash, 1987. "Trade and insurance with moral hazard," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, pages 201-220.
    8. Fernando Broner & Jaume Ventura, 2011. "Globalization and Risk Sharing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(1), pages 49-82.
    9. David M. G. Newbery & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1984. "Pareto Inferior Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 1-12.
    10. 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).
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    Cited by:

    1. Martin, William J., 2012. "Managing High and Volatile Food Prices," Trade Policy Issues Papers 142732, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
    2. Brown, Molly E. & Carr, Edward R. & Grace, Kathryn L. & Wiebe, Keith & Funk, Christopher C. & Attavanich, Witsanu & Backlund, Peter & Buja, Lawrence, 2017. "Do markets and trade help or hurt the global food system adapt to climate change?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 154-159.
    3. repec:eee:inecon:v:109:y:2017:i:c:p:85-101 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Christophe Gouel, 2014. "Food Price Volatility and Domestic Stabilization Policies in Developing Countries," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Food Price Volatility, pages 261-306 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Ben Zissimos, 2014. "A Theory of Trade Policy Under Dictatorship and Democratization," Discussion Papers 1403, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
    6. Ben Zissimos, 2014. "A Theory of Trade Policy Under Dictatorship and Democratization," Discussion Papers 1403, Exeter University, Department of Economics.

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