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Food Aid’s Intended and Unintended Consequences

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  • Christopher B. Barrett

    (Cornell University)

Abstract

This paper surveys the existing empirical evidence on the unintended consequences of food aid. Micro-level evidence is presented on the impacts of food aid deliveries on household labour supply, production incentives, consumption patterns and natural resource use. At the meso-level, evidence on the impact of food aid on market development, market prices, informal insurance arrangements, and the behavior of implementing agencies is surveyed. Macro level evidence on the impact of food aid on balance of payments, economic growth, international trade, exchange rates and other factors is reviewed. Although food aid can have negative unintended consequences, the empirical evidence is thin and often contradictory. The available evidence suggests that harmful effects are most likely to occur when food aid arrives or is purchased at the wrong time, when food aid distribution is not well targeted to the most food insecure households, and when the local market is relatively poorly integrated with broader national, regional and global markets. These results imply the need for caution in basing food aid programming decisions on a relatively weak body of empirical evidence.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher B. Barrett, 2006. "Food Aid’s Intended and Unintended Consequences," Working Papers 06-05, Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA).
  • Handle: RePEc:fao:wpaper:0605
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Quisumbing, Agnes R., 2003. "Food Aid and Child Nutrition in Rural Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 1309-1324, July.
    2. Michael Carter & Christopher Barrett, 2006. "The economics of poverty traps and persistent poverty: An asset-based approach," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(2), pages 178-199.
    3. Cox, Donald & Hansen, Bruce E. & Jimenez, Emmanuel, 2004. "How responsive are private transfers to income? Evidence from a laissez-faire economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2193-2219, August.
    4. Holden, Stein & Barrett, Christopher B. & Hagos, Fitsum, 2006. "Food-for-work for poverty reduction and the promotion of sustainable land use: can it work?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 15-38, February.
    5. Frances Stewart, 1998. "Food Aid During Conflict: Can One Reconcile Its Humanitarian, Economic, and Political Economy Effects?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(3), pages 560-565.
    6. Dorosh, Paul A. & Shahabuddin, Quazi & Aziz, M. Abdul & Farid, Naser, 2002. "Bumper crops, producer incentives and persistent poverty," MSSD discussion papers 43, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Barrett, Christopher B & Mohapatra, Sandeep & Snyder, Donald L, 1999. "The Dynamic Effects of U.S. Food Aid," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(4), pages 647-656, October.
    8. Martin Ravallion, 1997. "Famines and Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1205-1242, September.
    9. Faminow, Merle D., 1995. "Issues in valuing food aid: The cash or in-kind controversy," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 3-10, February.
    10. Tschirley, David & Donovan, Cynthia & Weber, Michael T., 1996. "Food aid and food markets: lessons from Mozambique," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 189-209, May.
    11. Barrett, Christopher B., 1997. "Liberalization and food price distributions: ARCH-M evidence from Madagascar," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 155-173, April.
    12. Barrett, Christopher B, 2001. "Does Food Aid Stabilize Food Availability?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(2), pages 335-349, January.
    13. Susan Olivia & John Gibson & Trinh Le, 2004. "Private Transfers and the Crowding Out Hypothesis: Semiparametric and Threshold Regression Evidence from Four Developing Countries," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 112, Econometric Society.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Elena Briones Alonso & Lara Cockx & Johan Swinnen, 2017. "Culture and Food Security," LICOS Discussion Papers 39817, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    2. Lee, Melissa M. & Izama, Melina Platas, 2015. "Aid Externalities: Evidence from PEPFAR in Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 281-294.
    3. Sinyolo, Sikhulumile & Mudhara, Maxwell & Wale, Edilegnaw, 2016. "To what extent does dependence on social grants affect smallholder farmers’ incentives to farm? Evidence from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 11(2), June.
    4. repec:arp:ijefrr:2017:p:257-271 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Goytom Abraha Kahsay & Workineh Asmare Kassie & Abebe Damte Beyene & Lars Gårn Hansen, 2017. "Do public works programs crowd-out pro-environmental behavior? Empirical evidence from food-for-work programs in Ethiopia," IFRO Working Paper 2017/13, University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics.
    6. Christopher B. Barrett, 2006. "Food Aid as Part of a Coherent Strategy to Advance Food Security Objectives," Working Papers 06-09, Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    food aid; aid effectiveness; dependency; disincentives; trade distortions.change; market-based mechanisms.;

    JEL classification:

    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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