Rising Food Prices, Food Price Volatility, and Political Unrest

42 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2011

See all articles by Marc F. Bellemare

Marc F. Bellemare

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Applied Economics

Date Written: June 28, 2011

Abstract

Do food prices cause political unrest? Throughout history, riots appear to have frequently broken out as a consequence of high food prices. This paper studies the impact of food prices on political unrest using monthly data on food prices at the international level. Because food prices and political unrest are jointly determined, the incidence of natural disasters in a given month is used in an attempt to identify the causal relationship between food prices and political unrest. Empirical results indicate that between January 1990 and January 2011, food price increases have led to increased political unrest, whereas food price volatility has been associated with decreases in political unrest. These findings are consistent with those of the applied microeconomics literature on the welfare impacts of food prices.

Keywords: Food Prices, Price Volatility, Political Unrest, Food Riots

JEL Classification: D74, O11, O13, Q11, Q34

Suggested Citation

Bellemare, Marc F., Rising Food Prices, Food Price Volatility, and Political Unrest (June 28, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1874101 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1874101

Marc F. Bellemare (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Applied Economics ( email )

MN
United States

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