Does Food Aid Harm the Poor? Household Evidence from Ethiopia

49 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2012 Last revised: 11 Mar 2022

See all articles by James A. Levinsohn

James A. Levinsohn

University of Michigan; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Margaret McMillan

Tufts University - Department of Economics; International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: January 2005

Abstract

This paper uses household-level data from Ethiopia to investigate the impact of food aid on the poor. We find that food aid in Ethiopia is "pro-poor." Our results indicate that (i) net buyers of wheat are poorer than net sellers of wheat, (ii) there are more buyers of wheat than sellers of wheat at all levels of income, (iii) the proportion of net sellers is increasing in living standards and (iv) net benefit ratios are higher for poorer households indicating that poorer households benefit proportionately more from a drop in the price of wheat. In light of this evidence, it appears that households at all levels of income benefit from food aid and that - somewhat surprisingly - the benefits go disproportionately to the poorest households.

Suggested Citation

Levinsohn, James A. and McMillan, Margaret, Does Food Aid Harm the Poor? Household Evidence from Ethiopia (January 2005). NBER Working Paper No. w11048, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2143811

James A. Levinsohn (Contact Author)

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Margaret McMillan

Tufts University - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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