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Feeding the poor: shifting food within and across borders

Mohini Datt's picture

While the world’s population doubled in the last fifty years, global food production trebled – especially in the staple grains that form the mainstay of the poor man’s diet.  Yet, over a billion people in the world still go hungry - why?

As the World Bank’s Global Monitoring Report of 2012 shows, it is not that the world as a whole lacks rice, wheat or maize, but produce from food abundant areas does not always make it to food deficit ones – i.e. it is not so much the availability of food that matters as access to it.
Movement of food within a country or across its borders remains hampered by dismal infrastructure and inefficient regulations, and shackled to the dictates of political economy.   Yet, trading food can feed the poor at lower costs and help countries weather shocks to local production.

Justin Yifu Lin receives video accolades, warm farewells

Merrell Tuck-Primdahl's picture

June 1 was Justin’s last day as World Bank Chief Economist and I wanted to share comments from several leading development thinkers and economists (including past Chief Economists) who knew him and appreciated the determination he brought to the position.  Justin’s views were not in the mainstream at the World Bank, but through intellectual persistence, structural economics has re-emerged as a topic meriting debate and discussion among top development experts.

Enjoy the video and feel free to share your views about Justin’s legacy

Are female firms less productive? Findings from the Rural Investment Climate Pilot Surveys

Rita Costa's picture

The potentially deleterious effects of gender disparities on growth and poverty reduction have been receiving progressively more policy attention (reflected, for instance, in the inclusion of the promotion of gender parity amongst the Millennium Development Goals and the 2012 World Development Report). Inequities in labor market opportunities are of particular concern since labor earnings are the most important source of income for the poor in the vast majority of developing countries.
 
Although the vast majority of the poor live in rural areas and rural non-farm enterprises account for about 35-50% of rural income and roughly a third of rural employment in developing countries, relatively little is known about gender inequities in rural non-agricultural labor market outcomes due to data-limitations. This is unfortunate given the proliferation and diversification of rural non-farm activities and their potential to alleviate poverty, especially in countries where the importance of agriculture as an employer is likely to diminish.

Let’s Be Pragmatic: My Final Post as World Bank Chief Economist

Justin Yifu Lin's picture

When launching ‘Let’s Talk Development,’ we thought we would create a platform for encouraging open debate and exchanging serious ideas about economic development and poverty reduction.  Looking back at almost two years of open exchanges and vigorous discussion on all sorts of issues, I think we have far surpassed our initial expectations.  ‘Let’s Talk Development’ now has a wide and loyal readership and is among the most popular of the World Bank’s blogs.

Socio economic consequences of food price spikes

Will Martin's picture

High food prices, especially when they have increased suddenly and unexpectedly, have been found to hurt many poor people around the world. The Global Monitoring Report 2012: Food Prices, Nutrition, and the Millennium Development Goals (GMR) finds that the food price shock that peaked in early 2011 pushed nearly 50 million people into poverty. On one level, this is not surprising—the poorest people, after all, spend nearly all of their income on food. But on further reflection, this result is not so obvious— three quarters of the world’s poor are rural and the majority of them depend on farming for their livelihoods. The problem is that—unlike farmers in rich countries—many poor farmers in developing countries don’t produce enough food to meet their families’ needs. These net buyers of food are hurt by higher food prices even though they are farmers.

Women – The Untapped Economic Potential in Serbia

Anna Reva's picture

How does Serbia fare on gender equality in the labor market? Did it manage to sustain some of the achievements of the former socialist regime, such as equal access to education opportunities, equal treatment of men and women in the labor law and high employment rates of men and women?  The analysis of the recent labor force and enterprise surveys shows that although men and women have similar education levels and enjoy equal treatment in the labor legislation, there are major gender disparities in access to economic opportunities:

India’s IT industry and industrial policy

Justin Yifu Lin's picture

The role of the Indian government in helping foster the success of India’s IT industry is a point I disagree with Kalpana Kochhar about. Kalpana, World Bank regional Chief Economist for South Asia, posted a comment disagreeing with my views on the subject on ‘Africa Can Reduce Poverty’. Following is my counterpoint to her:

    Three Kids in a Garage

    Aleem Walji's picture

    Last week, I participated in GE’s global conference, ‘Disrupt or Be Disrupted’. The theme of the event was simple. As barriers to entry fall in nearly every industry, no company is safe or immune from being disrupted in a fundamental way. It’s no longer uncommon that industry leaders lose their edge in months, and wither to irrelevance in record time. Unless corporates have the courage to embrace and empower their ‘creatives’ they don’t stand a chance in sustaining their competitive advantage.

    Caste Disadvantage, or Gender and Urban bias? Educational Mobility in Post-reform India

    Forhad Shilpi's picture

    India experienced sustained economic growth for more than two decades following the economic liberalization in 1991. While economic growth reduced poverty significantly, it was also associated with an increase in inequality. Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen (2011) argue that Indian economic reform has been “unprecedented success” in terms of economic growth, but an “extraordinary failure” when it comes to improvements in the living standard of general population and social indicators. The contrasting news reports on billion dollar house (Mukesh Ambani’s house at Mumbai) and farmers’ suicides have brought the issue of income inequality to the spotlight for many people.  Does the increase in inequality in post-reform India reflect deep-seated inequality of opportunity or efficient incentive structure in a market oriented economy?

    The Influence of Greece's Debt Crisis on the Banking Sector

    Sergio Schmukler's picture

    The crisis in Greece and the Eurozone has escalated as depositors flee banks in fear not only of the consequences of sovereign default but also of Greece abandoning the Euro. Unfortunately, this development makes the crisis much deeper and more difficult to manage. As we (along with Eduardo Levy Yeyati) highlighted in a VoxEU piece in June 2011, the main risk of the Greek debt crisis was its potential spillover to the banking sector.

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