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International Conference on Food Price Volatility: Causes and Challenges

On February 27 – 28, 2014, the Center for Technology and Economic Development at New York University, jointly with the OCP Policy Center and the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund, sponsored an international conference on “Food Price Volatility: Causes and Challenges” which took place in Rabat, Morocco. The program, organized by Yaw Nyarko (NYU), Rabah Arezki (IMF), Karim El Aynaoui (OCP Policy Center), and Prakash Loungani (IMF), consisted of about twelve papers with formal discussants for each paper.

Papers from the conference were considered for a special issue of the Oxford Economic Papers, subject to the Journal’s normal refereeing process.

The evolution of food prices is driven by multiple factors including the rise of China and India, weather-related disruptions induced by climate change, and the changing nature of food markets. Food price volatility raises numerous challenges. At the domestic level, sharp price increases in staple foods have, over the last few years, affected a large proportion of households, throwing millions into poverty. Food price volatility also raises a number of challenges at the international level. The Group of 20 leading economies has designated understanding food price volatility as a policy priority and emphasized the need for both domestic policies and international coordination to address the challenges posed by volatility. The purpose of this conference was to discuss new research on the origins of food price volatility and its associated domestic and international challenges.