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Policy Responses to 2008 High Food Prices: Domestic Incentives and Global Implications

Listed author(s):
  • Woolverton, Andrea E.
  • Kiawu, James

Global food commodity price inflation beginning in 2006 and continuing through mid-2008 became a priority concern for global consumers, producers and policy-makers alike. In response, many governments across the world implemented policies targeting high food commodity prices in their domestic markets. These policy responses were concentrated in lower income countries and primarily targeted rice and wheat. The 2007-08 policy responses across countries included liberalized import tariffs, export restrictions and increased domestic support for both consumers and producers. We develop a case study of 15 major global trading, lower-income countries’ policy responses . The analysis addressed the following questions: a) What policy responses did major global traders with relatively large domestic food commodity price vulnerabilities choose?; b) What are the expected short-term and potential longer-term market impacts of these policies?; c) What domestic incentives exist for the selected countries’ policy choices?; and d) Did the response policies work? History may repeat itself in the face of future global price surges unless sufficient feedback is received from trading partners. Looking at India’s and Vietnam’s experience, it appears that short-term goals associated with the rice export bans were achieved, both in terms of perceived mitigation of domestic prices and political objectives. Without tangible consequences, market disrupting policies could be expected in the future if the domestic incentives within relevant countries persist.

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Paper provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its series 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin with number 104506.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea09:104506
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  1. 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.
  2. von Braun, Joachim, 2008. "Food and financial crises: Implications for agriculture and the poor," Food policy reports 20, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Peters, May & Langley, Suchada V. & Westcott, Paul C., 2009. "Agricultural Commodity Price Spikes in the 1970s and 1990s: Valuable Lessons for Today," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, March.
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