Food Prices and Inflation in Developing Asia: Is Poverty Reduction Coming to an End?

Publication | April 2008

The recent spike in global food prices and the short-sighted policy responses that accentuate volatility in prices threaten to push large numbers of people back below the poverty line—including many millions in developing Asia.

This Special Report was prepared by a team from the Economics and Research Department. Food prices have increased sharply since mid-2007 and accelerated alarmingly in early 2008. Rice and wheat prices have spiked at levels not seen in over three decades. This threatens to exacerbate poverty in developing Asia by reducing the real incomes of the already poor, while pushing many others below the poverty line. The report proposes appropriate policy responses to the challenge of food price inflation in order to avoid the reversal of the gains in poverty reduction in the region.


  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Explaining the Underlying Causes of High Food Prices
  • Macroeconomic Effects of High and Rising Food Prices
  • Impact of Rising Food Prices on Households: Poverty and Distribution Analysis
  • Medium-term Supply Response and Poverty Impacts
  • Policy Responses for Long-term Food Security
  • Policy Responses: Safety Net Programs for Food Security and Policies to Mitigate Rising Food Prices

Additional Details

  • Agriculture and natural resources
  • Food price volatility
  • Poverty

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