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The impact of food inflation on urban poverty and its monetary cost : some back-of-the-envelope calculations

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  • Dessus, Sebastien
  • Herrera, Santiago
  • de Hoyos, Rafael

Abstract

This paper uses a sample of 73 developing countries to estimate the change in the cost of alleviating urban poverty brought about by the recent increase in food prices. This cost is approximated by the change in the poverty deficit, that is, the variation in financial resources required to eliminate poverty under perfect targeting. The results show that, for most countries, the cost represents less than 0.1 percent of gross domestic product. However, in the most severely affected, it may exceed 3 percent. In all countries, the change in the poverty deficit is mostly due to the negative real income effect of those households that were poor before the price shock, while the cost attributable to new households falling into poverty is negligible. Thus, in countries where transfer mechanisms with effective targeting already exist, the most cost-effective strategy would be to scale up such programs rather than designing tools to identify the new poor.

Suggested Citation

  • Dessus, Sebastien & Herrera, Santiago & de Hoyos, Rafael, 2008. "The impact of food inflation on urban poverty and its monetary cost : some back-of-the-envelope calculations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4666, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4666
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Dessus, Sebastien, 2008. "The short and longer term potential welfare impact of global commodity inflation in Tanzania," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4760, The World Bank.
    2. Seale, James & Regmi, Anita & Bernstein, Jason, 2003. "International Evidence on Food Consumption Patterns," Technical Bulletins 184321, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    3. Maros Ivanic & Will Martin, 2008. "Implications of higher global food prices for poverty in low-income countries-super-1," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 39(s1), pages 405-416, November.
    4. Atkinson, A B, 1987. "On the Measurement of Poverty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 749-764, July.
    5. Jed Friedman & James Levinsohn, 2002. "The Distributional Impacts of Indonesia's Financial Crisis on Household Welfare: A "Rapid Response" Methodology," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 16(3), pages 397-423, December.
    6. World Bank, 2008. "World Development Indicators 2008," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11855, April.
    7. Shaohua Chen & Martin Ravallion, 2010. "The Developing World is Poorer than We Thought, But No Less Successful in the Fight Against Poverty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1577-1625.
    8. Wodon, Quentin & Tsimpo, Clarence & Backiny-Yetna, Prospere & Joseph, George & Adoho, Franck & Coulombe, Harold, 2008. "Potential impact of higher food prices on poverty : summary estimates for a dozen west and central African countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4745, The World Bank.
    9. Yoko Niimi, 2005. "An Analysis of Household Responses to Price Shocks in Vietnam: Can Unit Values Substitute for Market Prices?," PRUS Working Papers 30, Poverty Research Unit at Sussex, University of Sussex.
    10. Charles Ackah, & Simon Appleton, "undated". "Food Price Changes and Consumer Welfare in Ghana in the 1990s," Discussion Papers 07/03, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
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    12. repec:wbk:wbpubs:28241 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. John Baffes & Bruce Gardner, 2003. "The transmission of world commodity prices to domestic markets under policy reforms in developing countries," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 159-180.
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    Keywords

    Rural Poverty Reduction; Population Policies; Food&Beverage Industry; Debt Markets;

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