Distinguishing between ‘Normal’ and ‘Extreme’ Price Volatility in Food Security Assessment

Ray Huffaker, Maurizio Canavari, R. Muñoz-Carpena


Volatile food prices are held to threaten food security worldwide, but controversy over how to distinguish between ‘normal’ and ‘extreme’ volatility compromises threat assessment and identification of countermeasures. Whether food-market dynamics normally stabilize or destabilize prices is the source of controversy. The conventional view is that market dynamics are inherently stable so that price volatility—arising from exogenous shocks normally stabilizes due to forces of supply and demand. Extended food panics are improbable, reducing need for interventionist public policy. An emergent alternative view is that market dynamics are inherently unstable so that volatility persists endogenously. Interventionist public policy is needed to deal with chronic food panics.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18461/pfsd.2016.1613

ISSN 2194-511X


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