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Does Food Aid Harm the Poor? Household Evidence from Ethiopia

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  • James Levinsohn
  • Margaret McMillan

Abstract

This paper uses household-level data from Ethiopia to investigate the impact of food aid on the poor. We find that food aid in Ethiopia is "pro-poor." Our results indicate that (i) net buyers of wheat are poorer than net sellers of wheat, (ii) there are more buyers of wheat than sellers of wheat at all levels of income, (iii) the proportion of net sellers is increasing in living standards and (iv) net benefit ratios are higher for poorer households indicating that poorer households benefit proportionately more from a drop in the price of wheat. In light of this evidence, it appears that households at all levels of income benefit from food aid and that - somewhat surprisingly - the benefits go disproportionately to the poorest households.

Suggested Citation

  • James Levinsohn & Margaret McMillan, 2005. "Does Food Aid Harm the Poor? Household Evidence from Ethiopia," NBER Working Papers 11048, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11048
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Coate, Stephen, 1989. "Cash versus direct food relief," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 199-224, April.
    2. Jayne, Thomas S. & Strauss, John & Yamano, Takashi & Molla, Daniel, 2002. "Targeting of food aid in rural Ethiopia: chronic need or inertia?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 247-288, August.
    3. Christopher B. Barrett & Paul A. Dorosh, 1996. "Farmers' Welfare and Changing Food Prices: Nonparametric Evidence from Rice in Madagascar," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(3), pages 656-669.
    4. Clay, Daniel C. & Molla, Daniel & Habtewold, Debebe, 1999. "Food aid targeting in Ethiopia: A study of who needs it and who gets it," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 391-409, August.
    5. Christopher B. Barrett, 1998. "Food Aid: Is It Development Assistance, Trade Promotion, Both, or Neither?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(3), pages 566-571.
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    Cited by:

    1. Garg, Teevrat & Barrett, Christopher B. & Gómez, Miguel I. & Lentz, Erin C. & Violette, William J., 2013. "Market Prices and Food Aid Local and Regional Procurement and Distribution: A Multi-Country Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 19-29.
    2. Ann Harrison, 2007. "Globalization and Poverty," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number harr06-1.
    3. Nathan Nunn & Nancy Qian, 2012. "Aiding Conflict: The Impact of U.S. Food Aid on Civil War," NBER Working Papers 17794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Nathan Nunn & Nancy Qian, 2014. "The Determinants of Food-Aid Provisions to Africa and the Developing World," NBER Chapters,in: African Successes, Volume IV: Sustainable Growth, pages 161-178 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Aisbett, Emma & Harrison, Ann & Zwane, Alix, 2006. "Globalization and poverty: what is the evidence?," MPRA Paper 36595, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Lentz, Erin C. & Barrett, Christopher B., 2008. "Improving Food Aid: What Reforms Would Yield the Highest Payoff?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 1152-1172, July.
    7. Ann Harrison & Margaret McMillan, 2007. "On the links between globalization and poverty," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 5(1), pages 123-134, April.
    8. Ferrière, Nathalie & Suwa-Eisenmann, Akiko, 2015. "Does Food Aid Disrupt Local Food Market? Evidence from Rural Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 114-131.
    9. Barrett, Christopher B., 2008. "Smallholder market participation: Concepts and evidence from eastern and southern Africa," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 299-317, August.
    10. William Easterly, 2009. "Can the West Save Africa?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 373-447, June.
    11. Broussard, Nzinga H. & Dercon, Stefan & Somanathan, Rohini, 2014. "Aid and agency in Africa: Explaining food disbursements across Ethiopian households, 1994–2004," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 128-137.
    12. Nathalie Ferrière & Akiko Suwa-Eisenmann, 2014. "Does food aid disrupt local food market? Evidence from rural Ethiopia," FOODSECURE Working papers 26, LEI Wageningen UR.
    13. Jesse M. Cunha & Giacomo De Giorgi & Seema Jayachandran, 2011. "The Price Effects of Cash Versus In-Kind Transfers," NBER Working Papers 17456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. del Ninno, Carlo & Dorosh, Paul A. & Subbarao, Kalanidhi, 2007. "Food aid, domestic policy and food security: Contrasting experiences from South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 413-435, August.
    15. Klugman, Jeni & Loening, Josef, 2007. "Welfare Impacts of Food Price Inflation in Ethiopia," MPRA Paper 24892, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Gelan, Ayele Ulfata, 2007. "Does food aid have disincentive effects on local production? A general equilibrium perspective on food aid in Ethiopia," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 436-458, August.
    17. Finot, Alfonso & LaFleur, Marcelo & Durán Lima, José Elías, 2011. "Effects of trade opening on household welfare: the Chilean case," Comercio Internacional 114, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    18. Rios, Ana R. & Shively, Gerald E. & Masters, William A., 2009. "Agricultural Prices and Income Distribution among Farmers: A Whole-Household, Multi-Country, Multi-Year Analysis," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49314, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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