The Impact of the World Food Price Crisis on Nutrition in China

CID Faculty Working Paper No. 176

Robert T. Jensen and Nolan H. Miller
August 2008


World food prices have increased dramatically in recent years. We use panel data from 2006 to examine the impact of these increases on the consumption and nutrition of poor households in two Chinese provinces. We find that households in Hunan suffered no nutrition declines. Households in Gansu experienced a small decline in calories, though the decline is on par with usual seasonal effects. The overall nutritional impact of the world price increase was small because households were able to substitute to cheaper foods and because the domestic prices of staple foods remained low due to government intervention in grain markets.

Keywords: food prices, nutrition, poverty, economic development

JEL subject codes: I10, I30, O12, Q18