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Keywords:

  • I32;
  • Q12;
  • Q17
  • Food prices;
  • Poverty;
  • Staple food;
  • Household survey

Abstract

In many poor countries, the recent increases in prices of staple foods have raised the real incomes of those selling food, many of whom are relatively poor, while hurting net food consumers, many of whom are also relatively poor. The impacts on poverty will certainly be very diverse, but the average impact on poverty depends upon the balance between these two effects, and can only be determined by looking at real-world data. Results using household data for 10 observations on nine low-income countries show that the short-run impacts of higher staple food prices on poverty differ considerably by commodity and by country, but that poverty increases are much more frequent, and larger, than poverty reductions. The recent large increases in food prices appear likely to raise overall poverty in low-income countries substantially.