The economics of food security in Arab micro states: preliminary evidence from micro data
Using Qatar as a case study, we exploit a novel micro dataset for 102 raw agricultural imported commodities on a shipment-by-shipment basis over the period January 1, 2005 to June 30, 2010. The data comprise over half a million individual observations, with a very rich set of characteristic specifications. Several interesting initial results emerge from the analysis. First, we find evidence of import-price volatility far in excess of world price volatility across a wide spectrum of commodities. Second, supply origins for virtually all commodities are highly concentrated. In many cases commodities are sole sourced. Third, although less so, concentration is evidenced among Qatari importing companies for certain commodities. Fourth, we notice anomalies that lead to inefficient shipping methodologies and associated increased costs. The paper concludes by providing guidance for future empirical research.
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