Food Price Spikes, Price Insulation and Poverty

45 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2013 Last revised: 26 Apr 2015

See all articles by Kym Anderson

Kym Anderson

University of Adelaide - Centre for International Economic Studies (CIES); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Australian National University

Maros Ivanic

World Bank; World Bank - Development Economics Group (DEC); World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Will J. Martin

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2013

Abstract

This paper first considers the impact on world food prices of the changes in restrictions on trade in staple foods during the 2008 world food price crisis. Those changes--reductions in import protection or increases in export restraints--were meant to partially insulate domestic markets from the spike in international prices. The authors find that this insulation added substantially to the spike in international prices for rice, wheat, maize, and oilseeds. As a result, although domestic prices rose less than they would have without insulation in some developing countries, in many other countries they rose more than they would have in the absence of such insulation. The paper's second purpose it to estimate the combined impact of such insulating behavior on poverty in various developing countries and globally. The analysis finds that the actual poverty-reducing impact of insulation is much less than its apparent impact, and that its net effect was to increase global poverty in 2008 by 8 million people, although this increase was not significantly different from zero. The paper examines the relative efficiency and equity of trade restrictions and domestic policies, such as conditional cash transfers, than are designed to provide social protection for the poor when international food prices spike. It also examines the potential consequences of multilateral agreements to limit changes in restrictions on trade during such times.

Suggested Citation

Anderson, Kym and Ivanic, Maros and Martin, William J., Food Price Spikes, Price Insulation and Poverty (October 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w19530, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2342010

Kym Anderson (Contact Author)

University of Adelaide - Centre for International Economic Studies (CIES) ( email )

School of Economics
Adelaide SA 5005
Australia
+61 8 8313 4712 (Phone)
+61 8 8223 1460 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Australian National University ( email )

Arndt-Corden Dept of Economics
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Australia
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HOME PAGE: http://publicpolicy.anu.edu.au/crawford_people/content/staff/acde/kanderson.php

Maros Ivanic

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

World Bank - Development Economics Group (DEC) ( email )

1818 H Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

William J. Martin

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

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