IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Prospects for global food security: a critical appraisal of past projections and predictions


  • McCalla, Alex F
  • Revoredo, Cesar L.


During the last half century, a number of individuals and institutions, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and IFPRI, have engaged in projections of future food demand, supply, and related variables. In this brief, Alex McCalla and Cesar Revoredo compare projections with real-life outcomes. Projections forecast outcomes on the basis of certain underlying factors. If such forecasted outcomes are undesirable, changes may be made in the underlying factors so that the projections may not, in fact, come to pass. Many projections serve this precise goal. Therefore, the success of projections may not be that they match actual outcomes but that they avoid such outcomes by promoting action to change underlying variables. Unlike predictions, which are successful only if they match actual outcomes, projections that differ from actual outcomes may reflect either poor projection models or changes in underlying variables, possibly caused by the projections themselves.

Suggested Citation

  • McCalla, Alex F & Revoredo, Cesar L., 2001. "Prospects for global food security: a critical appraisal of past projections and predictions," 2020 vision discussion papers 35, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:2020dp:35

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:ags:nareaj:158875 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Johnson, D. Gale, 1975. "World Food Problems," Northeastern Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 1-23, October.
    3. Nordhaus, William D, 1973. "World Dynamics: Measurement Without Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 83(332), pages 1156-1183, December.
    4. Leontief, Wassily, 1977. "The future of the world economy+," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 171-182.
    5. John H. Sanders & Richard C. Hoyt, 1970. "The World Food Problem: Four Recent Empirical Studies," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 52(1), pages 132-135.
    6. Mitchell,Donald O. & Ingco,Merlinda D. & Duncan,Ronald C., 1997. "The World Food Outlook," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521589840.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. B. Bala & M. Hossain, 2010. "Modeling of food security and ecological footprint of coastal zone of Bangladesh," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 511-529, August.
    2. Patrick Webb, 2002. "The Dynamics of Food, Nutrition and Poverty in SE Asia," Working Papers in Food Policy and Nutrition 09, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.
    3. O'Neill, Brian C. & Desai, Mausami, 2005. "Accuracy of past projections of US energy consumption," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 979-993, May.
    4. Fukase,Emiko & Martin,William J., 2017. "Economic growth, convergence, and world food demand and supply," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8257, The World Bank.
    5. Michiel van Dijk & Gerdien Meijerink, 2014. "A review of global food security scenario and assessment studies: results, gaps and research priorities," FOODSECURE Working papers 20, LEI Wageningen UR.
    6. Achterbosch, Thom J. & Dopfer, Dorte D.V. & Tabeau, Andrzej A., 2005. "Cattle Trade and the Risk of Importing Animal Diseases into the Netherlands," 2005 International Congress, August 23-27, 2005, Copenhagen, Denmark 24558, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    7. Toma, Luiza & Ashworth, Cheryl J. & Stott, Alistair W., 2008. "A Partial Equilibrium Model Of The Linkages Between Animal Welfare, Trade And The Environment In Scotland," 109th Seminar, November 20-21, 2008, Viterbo, Italy 44825, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    8. Michiel van Dijk, 2012. "A review of global scenario exercises for food security analysis: Assumptions and results," FOODSECURE Working papers 2, LEI Wageningen UR.

    More about this item


    Food consumption.; Food security.;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fpr:2020dp:35. 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: (). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.