How Do Governments Respond to Food Price Spikes? Lessons from the Past
Food prices in international markets spiked upwards in 2008, doubling or more in a matter of months. Evidence is still being compiled on policy responses over the following two years, but new time series estimates of government intervention for the previous five decades allow insights into past policy responses to price fluctuations and spikes. This paper reviews the distortionary impacts of policies used by governments attempting to stabilize their domestic food markets. It then focuses on policy responses in the mid-1970s, as reflected in various annual indicators of distortions to producer and consumer incentives, before drawing out some policy lessons.
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