Food Prices and Population Health in Developing Countries: An Investigation of the Effects of the Food Crisis Using a Panel Analysis

Publication | September 2013

Food price inflation and volatility have a significant and adverse effect on the health of the most vulnerable in developing countries.

High food prices can be an immediate threat to household food security, undermining population health, retarding human development, and lowering labor productivity for the economy in the long term. The authors employ a panel dataset covering 63 developing countries from 2001 to 2010 to make a comprehensive assessment of the effects of food price inflation and volatility on population health measured by infant mortality rate, child mortality rate, and the prevalence of undernourishment. They find that rising food prices have a significant and adverse effect on all three health indicators in developing countries. Furthermore, the impact of food prices is severer in the least developing countries although the effect is moderated in countries with a greater share of agriculture in gross domestic product.


  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Food, Nutrition, and Health in Developing Countries
  • Empirical Analysis
  • Summary and Policy Implications
  • Appendixes
  • References