In the mid-1970s, international real food prices started a decreasing trend that lasted for about 25 years. Prices then stabilized around a slightly increasing trend for five to six years until mid-2007, when they began a steep increase, reaching a peak around the middle of 2008. Since then, international real prices have been volatile with several peaks and troughs. Such food price volatility, which is caused by a combination of factors—including extreme weather events, market disruptions, government policy, and investor behavior—is likely to continue and possibly amplify in the future. It presents a major challenge for the world’s policy makers. While much has been written about the nature, content, and causes of food price fluctuations since 2007, little is known about the processes that led to the policy responses and the relative power, behavior, and influence of the participating stakeholder groups. Understanding how and why governments responded as they did will help enhance existing knowledge of the political economy of food price policy and assist governments in their policy making as they confront future food price fluctuations.
To gain such additional knowledge, researchers from 14 developing countries as well as the United States and the European Union (EU), came together around a project coordinated by Cornell University, UNU-WIDER, and Copenhagen University and funded by these organizations as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. These researchers completed a study of the political economy of food price policy since 2007 in each of the 16 countries along with syntheses of the findings from the 16 studies. The complete papers are available here.
The research briefs are available on the links below:
SYNTHESIS RESEARCH BRIEFS: