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

Listed author(s):
  • 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.

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Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series 2020 vision discussion papers with number 35.

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Date of creation: 2001
Handle: RePEc:fpr:2020dp:35
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  1. Johnson, D. Gale, 1975. "World Food Problems," Northeastern Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 4(2:), October.
  2. Nordhaus, William D, 1973. "World Dynamics: Measurement Without Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 83(332), pages 1156-1183, December.
  3. Leontief, Wassily, 1977. "The future of the world economy+," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 171-182.
  4. 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.
  5. Mitchell,Donald O. & Ingco,Merlinda D. & Duncan,Ronald C., 1997. "The World Food Outlook," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521589840, August.
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