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The Egyptian food subsidy system: structure, performance, and options for reform

Author

Listed:
  • Ahmed, Akhter U.
  • Gutner, Tamar
  • Lofgren, Hans
  • Bouis, Howarth E.

Abstract

Egypt's food subsidy system has been a mainstay of the government's long-term policy of promoting social equity and political stability. It has also been a major component of the social safety net for the poor, guaranteeing the availability of affordable staples, helping to reduce infant mortality and malnutrition, and mitigating the adverse effects of recent economic reform and structural adjustment.The cost of the system has declined considerably from 14 percent of government expenditures in 1980/81 to 5.6 percent in 1996/97. The absolute cost, however, remains high: In 1996/97,the total cost was 3.74 billion Egyptian pounds (LE)or about US$1.1 billion.The government and various stakeholders agree that the system's costs can be further reduced and its efficiency improved with better targeting to the needy. The Egyptian Food Subsidy System: Structure, Performance, and Options for Reform evaluates the economic, political, and technical feasibility of reducing costs while improving or maintaining the welfare of the poor.The report addresses five questions: (1)How well does the present system target the poor? (2)How much leakage — the pilferage of subsidized foods in the distribution channel —occurs? (3)At what cost does the government transfer income to the needy? (4)How can subsidies be better targeted to the needy?and (5)What are politically feasible options for reform?

Suggested Citation

  • Ahmed, Akhter U. & Gutner, Tamar & Lofgren, Hans & Bouis, Howarth E., 2001. "The Egyptian food subsidy system: structure, performance, and options for reform," Research reports 119, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:resrep:119
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    File URL: http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/rr119.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ali, Sonia M. & Adams, Richard Jr, 1996. "The Egyptian food subsidy system: Operation and effects on income distribution," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(11), pages 1777-1791, November.
    2. Bouis, Howarth E. & Haddad, Lawrence J., 1992. "Are estimates of calorie-income fxelasticities too high? : A recalibration of the plausible range," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 333-364, October.
    3. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ahmed, Akhter U. & Bouis, Howarth E., 2002. "Weighing what's practical," FCND discussion papers 132, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. repec:pit:wpaper:313 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Ghoneim, Ahmed Farouk, 2012. "The Political Economy of Food Price Policy in Egypt," WIDER Working Paper Series 096, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Hebatallah Ghoneim, 2013. "Ration Cards in Egypt: Targeting, Leakage, and Costs," Working Papers 36, The German University in Cairo, Faculty of Management Technology.
    5. repec:unu:wpaper:wp2012-96 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Jensen, Henning Tarp & Robinson, Sherman & Tarp, Finn, 2002. "General equilibrium measures of agricultural policy bias in fifteen developing countries," TMD discussion papers 105, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Cassing, James & Nassar, Saad & Siam, Gamal & Moussa, Hoda, 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Egypt," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48511, World Bank.
    8. Ahmed, Akhter U. & Bouis, Howarth E., 2002. "Weighing what's practical: proxy means tests for targeting food subsidies in Egypt," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5-6), pages 519-540.
    9. Farrar, Curtis, 2000. "A review of food subsidy research at IFPRI," Impact assessments 12, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    10. Mohajan, Haradhan, 2013. "Food and nutrition of Bangladesh," MPRA Paper 53527, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 11 Nov 2013.
    11. Wiesmann, Doris, 2006. "A global hunger index: measurement concept, ranking of countries, and trends," FCND discussion papers 212, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    12. Gutner, Tammi, 1999. "The political economy of food subsidy reform in Egypt," FCND discussion papers 77, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    13. Kherallah, Mylene & Lofgren, Hans & Gruhn, Peter & Reeder, Meyra M., 2000. "Wheat policy reform in Egypt: adjustment of local markets and options for future reforms," Research reports 115, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    14. Asfaw, Abay, 2007. "Micronutrient deficiency and the prevalence of mothers' overweight/obesity in Egypt," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 471-483, December.
    15. Muhammad Bashir & Steven Schilizzi, 2015. "Food security policy assessment in the Punjab, Pakistan: effectiveness, distortions and their perceptions," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 7(5), pages 1071-1089, October.
    16. Herrera, Santiago & Youssef, Hoda & Youssef, Hoda & Zaki, Chahir, 2010. "Egypt beyond the crisis : medium-term challenges for sustained growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5451, The World Bank.
    17. Lofgren, Hans & El-Said, Moataz, 2001. "Food subsidies in Egypt: reform options, distribution and welfare," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 65-83, February.
    18. Gutner, Tamar, 2002. "The political economy of food subsidy reform: the case of Egypt," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5-6), pages 455-476.
    19. Asfaw, Abay, 2007. "Do Government Food Price Policies Affect the Prevalence of Obesity? Empirical Evidence from Egypt," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 687-701, April.
    20. Margaret Grosh & Carlo del Ninno & Emil Tesliuc & Azedine Ouerghi, 2008. "For Protection and Promotion : The Design and Implementation of Effective Safety Nets," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6582.
    21. Coady, David P., 2004. "Designing and evaluating social safety nets," FCND discussion papers 172, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    22. Amid, Javad, 2007. "The dilemma of cheap food and self-sufficiency: The case of wheat in Iran," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 537-552, August.

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