Literature review on the consequences of food price spikes and price volatility

Abstract : Food price volatility has drawn much attention from the international community in the beginning of the 21st century, in the aftermath of the 2008 and 2010 food riots. One strand of the literature aimed at identifying the economic origins of the increased variability of prices (supply shocks, underinvestment in the agricultural sector, financial speculation and increased demand from the emerging markets), while several articles were trying to assess whether there had actually been a change in the volatility regime in the first place. Yet another strand of the literature focused on the consequences of food price shocks and volatility. This paper provides a comprehensive review of this extensive literature on the impacts of food price shocks and food commodity volatility. The consequences are assessed both in micro- and macroeconomic terms, from the consumer’s and producer’s sides, as well as from the theoretical and empirical points of view. If the vast majority of studies points to a detrimental impact of food price shocks on the livelihood of many in the developing world, and on potentially dire consequences on production, growth and political stability, this literature review reveals, above all, the lack of proper investigation about the consequences of food price volatility in itself. The hype around the excessive volatility of the food markets did not translate into an academic focus on the consequences of this price instability.
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Pierre-Emmanuel Darpeix. Literature review on the consequences of food price spikes and price volatility. 2019. ⟨hal-02072329⟩

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