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Transition And Food Consumption


  • Liefert, William M.
  • Lohmar, Bryan
  • Serova, Eugenia


This paper examines why transition from planned to market economies in the countries of the former Soviet bloc has changed their mix and volumes of food consumption. During transition, consumption of high value products, such as meat and dairy products, has plummeted, while consumption of staple foods such as bread and potatoes has remained steady, or even increased. The paper shows that in the pre-reform planned economy, planners "desired" the production and national consumption of high value (and cost) foodstuffs more than consumers. When market reform resulted in consumer prices adjusting to reflect the full cost of production, consumer demand switched from high cost foods to other goods and services. The demand-driven nature of food restructuring in these countries has implications for food security, reinforcing the argument that any food security problems are not mainly the result of inadequate aggregate supplies of agricultural products.

Suggested Citation

  • Liefert, William M. & Lohmar, Bryan & Serova, Eugenia, 2003. "Transition And Food Consumption," 2003 Annual Meeting, August 16-22, 2003, Durban, South Africa 25844, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae03:25844

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Macours, Karen & Swinnen, Johan F. M., 2000. "Causes of Output Decline in Economic Transition: The Case of Central and Eastern European Agriculture," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 172-206, March.
    2. William M. Liefert, 2002. "Comparative (Dis?) Advantage in Russian Agriculture," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(3), pages 762-767.
    3. Liefert, William M. & Swinnen, Johan F.M., 2002. "Changes In Agricultural Markets In Transition Economies," Agricultural Economics Reports 33945, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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    Cited by:

    1. Irina Bezlepkina & Arie Oskam & Alfons Oude Lansink & Ruud Huirne, 2004. "Development and performance of Russian agricultural enterprises, 1990-2001," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 439-457.


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