IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Food Security and Economic Growth: An Asian Perspective

  • Peter Timmer


Food security is an elusive concept. Many economists doubt that it has any precise meaning at all. Having enough to eat on a regular basis, however, is a powerful human need, and satisfying this need drives household behavior in both private and public markets in predictable ways. Indeed, the historical record suggests that policy initiatives by central governments to satisfy this need for food security—at the level of both households and national markets—can speed economic growth in countries where a substantial proportion of the population does not get enough to eat. Paradoxically, in most successfully developing countries, especially those in the rice-based economies of Asia, the public provision of food security quickly slips from its essential role as an economic stimulus into a political response to the pressures of rapid structural transformation, thereby becoming a drag on economic efficiency. The long-run relationship between food security and economic growth thus tends to switch from positive to negative over the course of development. Because of inevitable inertia in the design and implementation of public policy, this switch presents a serious challenge to the design of an appropriate food policy.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Center for Global Development in its series Working Papers with number 51.

in new window

Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:51
Contact details of provider: Web page:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:51. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Roodman)

The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask David Roodman to update the entry or send us the correct address

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.