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Food Price Spikes, Price Insulation and Poverty

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  • Kym Anderson
  • Maros Ivanic
  • Will Martin

Abstract

This paper first considers the impact on world food prices of the changes in restrictions on trade in staple foods during the 2008 world food price crisis. Those changes--reductions in import protection or increases in export restraints--were meant to partially insulate domestic markets from the spike in international prices. The authors find that this insulation added substantially to the spike in international prices for rice, wheat, maize, and oilseeds. As a result, although domestic prices rose less than they would have without insulation in some developing countries, in many other countries they rose more than they would have in the absence of such insulation. The paper's second purpose it to estimate the combined impact of such insulating behavior on poverty in various developing countries and globally. The analysis finds that the actual poverty-reducing impact of insulation is much less than its apparent impact, and that its net effect was to increase global poverty in 2008 by 8 million people, although this increase was not significantly different from zero. The paper examines the relative efficiency and equity of trade restrictions and domestic policies, such as conditional cash transfers, than are designed to provide social protection for the poor when international food prices spike. It also examines the potential consequences of multilateral agreements to limit changes in restrictions on trade during such times.

Suggested Citation

  • Kym Anderson & Maros Ivanic & Will Martin, 2013. "Food Price Spikes, Price Insulation and Poverty," NBER Working Papers 19530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19530
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christophe Gouel & Sébastien Jean, 2015. "Optimal Food Price Stabilization in a Small Open Developing Country," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 29(1), pages 72-101.
    2. Will Martin & Kym Anderson, 2012. "Export Restrictions and Price Insulation During Commodity Price Booms," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(2), pages 422-427.
    3. Maros Ivanic & Will Martin, 2008. "Implications of higher global food prices for poverty in low‐income countries1," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 39(s1), pages 405-416, November.
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    7. Kym Anderson & Signe Nelgen, 2012. "Agricultural trade distortions during the global financial crisis," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(2), pages 235-260, SUMMER.
    8. Harold Alderman & Ruslan Yemtsov, 2014. "How Can Safety Nets Contribute to Economic Growth?," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 28(1), pages 1-20.
    9. Kym Anderson & Will Martin, 2009. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Asia," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 2611, December.
    10. Ivanic, Maros & Martin, Will & Zaman, Hassan, 2012. "Estimating the Short-Run Poverty Impacts of the 2010–11 Surge in Food Prices," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(11), pages 2302-2317.
    11. 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.
    12. Kym Anderson, 2009. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives : A Global Perspective, 1955-2007," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 9436.
    13. Thomas W. Hertel & L. Alan Winters, 2006. "Poverty and the WTO : Impacts of the Doha Development Agenda," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 7411.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • Q02 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Commodity Market
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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