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CommoditiesMarkets, Performance, and Strategies$
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H. Kent Baker, Greg Filbeck, and Jeffrey H. Harris

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190656010

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190656010.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 October 2021

Food Prices and Food Price Volatility

Food Prices and Food Price Volatility

(p.422) 22 Food Prices and Food Price Volatility

Donald F. Larson

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines food prices from 1900 to 2015. Despite growing populations, rising incomes, new technologies, globalization, and the emergence of commodities as an asset class, no trends are evident in food price levels or volatility. Still, food prices have averaged higher since 2010, harming the poor and raising fears that agricultural productivity growth has slowed. Consistently since 1900, food prices have been more volatile than the prices of manufactured goods and most other commodity groups. This relation drives terms-of-trade volatility, which slows economic growth. At the farm level, price volatility impedes investment and technology adoption, and encourages low-income livelihood strategies. Past policies to manage food prices have not worked and governments have shifted to policies aimed at mitigating the consequences of high and volatile food prices. Extending the reach of risk markets, warehouse receipt systems, index insurance, and contract farming can be useful policy components.

Keywords:   food prices, price volatility, warehouse receipt system, contract farming, index insurance

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