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Food Prices and Population Health in Developing Countries: An Investigation of the Effects of the Food Crisis Using a Panel Analysis


  • Lee, Suejin

    (Korea University)

  • Lim, Jae-Young

    (Korea University)

  • Lee, Hyun-Hoon

    (Kangwon National University)

  • Park, Cyn-Young

    (Asian Development Bank)


High food prices can be an immediate threat to household food security, undermining population health, retarding human development, and lowering labor productivity for the economy in the long term. We employ a panel dataset covering 63 developing countries from 2001 to 2010 to make a comprehensive assessment of the effects of food price inflation and volatility on population health measured by infant mortality rate, child mortality rate, and the prevalence of undernourishment. We find that rising food prices have a significant and adverse effect on all three health indicators in developing countries. Furthermore, the impact of food prices is severer in the least developing countries although the effect is moderated in countries with a greater share of agriculture in gross domestic product.

Suggested Citation

  • Lee, Suejin & Lim, Jae-Young & Lee, Hyun-Hoon & Park, Cyn-Young, 2013. "Food Prices and Population Health in Developing Countries: An Investigation of the Effects of the Food Crisis Using a Panel Analysis," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 374, Asian Development Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:adbewp:0374

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Ruhm, Christopher J., 2006. "Deaths rise in good economic times: Evidence from the OECD," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 298-316, December.
    2. Lant Pritchett & Lawrence H. Summers, 1996. "Wealthier is Healthier," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(4), pages 841-868.
    3. David Locke Newhouse & Prachi Mishra, 2007. "Health Aid and Infant Mortality," IMF Working Papers 07/100, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Wilson, Sven E., 2011. "Chasing Success: Health Sector Aid and Mortality," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(11), pages 2032-2043.
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    More about this item


    food price; health; food security;

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I19 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Other
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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