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The Right Price of Food: Reflections on the Political Economy of Policy Analysis and Communication

  • Johan F.M. Swinnen

Only a few years ago the widely shared view was that low food prices were a curse to developing countries and the poor. The dramatic increase of food prices in 2006-2008 appears to have fundamentally altered this view. The vast majority of analyses and reports in 2008 and 2009 state that high food prices have a devastating effect on developing countries and the world’s poor. This reversal of opinion raises questions about the old and the new arguments and about the proposed remedies. It also raises questions about the causes of this dramatic turnaround in analysis and policy conclusions. In this paper I document these changes in perspective and I discuss potential implications and offer hypotheses on the cause of the change in views.

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Paper provided by LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven in its series LICOS Discussion Papers with number 25910.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:lic:licosd:25910
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  1. Djankov, Simeon & McLeish, Caralee & Nenova, Tatiana & Shleifer, Andrei, 2001. "Who owns the media?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2620, The World Bank.
  2. Miet Maertens & Liesbeth Colen & Johan F.M. Swinnen, 2008. "Globalization and Poverty in Senegal: A Worst Case Scenario?," LICOS Discussion Papers 21708, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  3. Thomas Eisensee & David Strömberg, 2007. "News Droughts, News Floods, and U.S. Disaster Relief," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 693-728, 05.
  4. Chau, Nancy H. & Huysentruyt, Marieke, 2006. "Nonprofits and public good provision: A contest based on compromises," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(8), pages 1909-1935, November.
  5. Besley, Timothy & Burgess, Robin, 2001. "Political agency, government responsiveness and the role of the media," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 629-640, May.
  6. Jill J. McCluskey & Johan F.M. Swinnen, 2004. "Political Economy of the Media and Consumer Perceptions of Biotechnology," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1230-1237.
  7. Dries, Liesbeth & Swinnen, Johan F. M., 2004. "Foreign Direct Investment, Vertical Integration, and Local Suppliers: Evidence from the Polish Dairy Sector," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1525-1544, September.
  8. Roland Vaubel & Axel Dreher & Ugurlu Soylu, 2003. "Staff Growth in International Organizations: A Principal-Agent Problem? An Empirical Analysis," Public Economics 0306006, EconWPA, revised 08 Jul 2003.
  9. Frank-Oliver Aldenhoff, 2007. "Are economic forecasts of the International Monetary Fund politically biased? A public choice analysis," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 239-260, September.
  10. Aldashev, Gani & Verdier, Thierry, 2010. "Goodwill bazaar: NGO competition and giving to development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 48-63, January.
  11. Eric Werker & Faisal Z. Ahmed, 2008. "What Do Nongovernmental Organizations Do?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 73-92, Spring.
  12. Johan F.M. Swinnen & Thijs Vandemoortele & Mara Squicciarini, 2010. "The Market for Policy Communication," LICOS Discussion Papers 27210, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  13. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Fighting Corruption to Improve Schooling: Evidence from a Newspaper Campaign in Uganda," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 259-267, 04/05.
  14. James Andreoni & A. Abigail Payne, 2003. "Do Government Grants to Private Charities Crowd Out Giving or Fund-raising?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 792-812, June.
  15. Gardner, Bruce L, 1987. "Causes of U.S. Farm Commodity Programs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(2), pages 290-310, April.
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