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Rising Food Prices and Household Welfare: Evidence from Brazil in 2008

  • Ferreira, Francisco H. G.

    ()

    (World Bank)

  • Fruttero, Anna

    ()

    (World Bank)

  • Leite, Phillippe

    ()

    (World Bank)

  • Lucchetti, Leonardo

    ()

    (World Bank)

Food price inflation in Brazil in the twelve months to June 2008 was 18 percent, while overall inflation was 5.3 percent. This paper uses spatially disaggregated monthly data on consumer prices and two different household surveys to estimate the welfare consequences of these food price increases, and their distribution across households. Because Brazil is a large food producer, with a predominantly wage-earning agricultural labor force, our estimates include general equilibrium effects on market and transfer incomes, as well as the standard estimates of changes in consumer surplus. While the expenditure (or consumer surplus) effects were large, negative and markedly regressive everywhere, the market income effect was positive and progressive, particularly in rural areas. Because of this effect on the rural poor, and of the partial protection afforded by increases in two large social assistance benefits, the overall impact of higher food prices in Brazil was U-shaped, with the middle-income groups suffering larger proportional losses than the very poor. Nevertheless, since Brazil is 80 percent urban, higher food prices still led to a greater incidence and depth of poverty at the national level.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5713.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: May 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2013, 64 (1), 151-176
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5713
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  1. Jed Friedman & James Levinsohn, 2001. "The Distributional Impacts of Indonesia's Financial Crisis on Household Welfare: A "Rapid Response" Methodology," NBER Working Papers 8564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Leite, Phillippe G. & Ravallion, Martin, 2007. "Poverty reduction without economic growth ? explaining Brazil's poverty dynamics, 1985-2004," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4431, The World Bank.
  3. Anton Korinek & Johan Mistiaen & Martin Ravallion, 2006. "Survey nonresponse and the distribution of income," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 33-55, April.
  4. Fabio Veras Soares & Sergei Suarez Dillon Soares & Marcelo Medeiros & Rafael Guerreiro Osório, 2006. "Cash Transfer Programmes in Brazil: Impacts on Inequality and Poverty," Working Papers 21, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
  5. Deaton, Angus, 1990. "Price elasticities from survey data : Extensions and Indonesian results," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 281-309, June.
  6. Ravallion, Martin & van de Walle, Dominique, 1991. "The impact on poverty of food pricing reforms: A welfare analysis for Indonesia," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 281-299.
  7. Ivanic, Maros & Martin, Will, 2008. "Implications of higher global food prices for poverty in low-income countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4594, The World Bank.
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