Journal Article

Contrasting approaches to projecting long-run global food security

H. Charles J. Godfray and Sherman Robinson

in Oxford Review of Economic Policy

Published on behalf of The Oxford Review of Economic Policy Ltd

Volume 31, issue 1, pages 26-44
Published in print January 2015 | ISSN: 0266-903X
Published online June 2015 | e-ISSN: 1460-2121 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxrep/grv006
Contrasting approaches to projecting long-run global food security

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  • Household Behaviour and Family Economics
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The provision of food has been a central preoccupation of policy-makers throughout history. Today we are witnessing a period of food security pessimism triggered by increases in food prices, and their higher volatility, that began in 2008. However, previous episodes of food pessimism were ended by the Industrial and Green Revolutions, and policy-makers legitimately ask whether human ingenuity and technical advances will address today’s worries without the need for their intervention. Here we explore some of the ways natural and social scientists have attempted to explore the supply and demand for food in the future to help policy-makers understand the challenges ahead. We are particularly struck that different communities have approached this problem in different ways that seldom reference each other. We describe two broad approaches: statistical extrapolation and economic simulation models of the food system that incorporate market mechanisms. We compare the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches and make some tentative suggestions about how they can together address important policy priorities.

Keywords: food security; statistical extrapolation; computable general equilibrium models; partial equilibrium models; climate change; total factor productivity; population growth; consumption; D12; O15

Journal Article.  9171 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Household Behaviour and Family Economics ; Economic Development

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