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On the Economics of Commodity Price Dynamics and Price Volatility


  • Chavas, Jean-Paul
  • Li, Jian


This paper develops an economic analysis of commodity price dynamics and price volatility. The approach applies under general supply-demand conditions, including the role played by private and public inventory holders. Quantile autogression is used to estimate the evolving distribution of price. The usefulness of the method is illustrated in an application to two markets in China: a food market (rice) and a feed market (corn). Based on monthly data over the period 2000-2014, the econometric analysis shows how the price distributions (including skewness and kurtosis) vary across commodity markets. Using a Markov chain representation, the paper evaluates the dynamics of price volatility. It finds slow adjustments in the price distribution between short run and long run situations. The investigation also assesses the short run and long run effects of alternative economic policies on the price distributions. It finds that the Chinese price support programs have helped stabilize the domestic food market but not the feed market.

Suggested Citation

  • Chavas, Jean-Paul & Li, Jian, 2016. "On the Economics of Commodity Price Dynamics and Price Volatility," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 235070, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea16:235070
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.235070

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Angus Deaton & Guy Laroque, 1992. "On the Behaviour of Commodity Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 1-23.
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    13. Chavas, Jean-Paul & Hummels, David & Wright, Brian D. (ed.), 2014. "The Economics of Food Price Volatility," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226128924, March.
    14. Jean-Paul Chavas & David Hummels & Brian D. Wright, 2014. "The Economics of Food Price Volatility," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number chav12-1, Juni.
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    17. Gale, Fred, 2013. "Growth and Evolution in China's Agricultural Support Policies," Economic Research Report 155385, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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    19. Jean-Paul Chavas & David Hummels & Brian D. Wright, 2014. "Introduction to "The Economics of Food Price Volatility"," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Food Price Volatility, pages 1-11, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Agricultural and Food Policy; Demand and Price Analysis; Risk and Uncertainty;

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