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Domestic policy responses to the food price crisis: The case of Bolivia
In face of the global food crisis of 2007-2008, severe concerns arose about how developing countries would be affected by the extreme short-term fluctuations in international commodity prices. We examine the effects of the crisis on Bolivia, one of the poorest countries of the Americas. We focus on the effectiveness of the domestic policy interventions in preventing spillovers of the development of international food prices to domestic markets. Using a cointegration model, we study price interdependencies of wheat flour, sunflower oil and poultry. The analysis suggests that the policy measures taken had little effect on food security during the food crisis. Throughout the entire period, perfect price transmission between the Bolivian poultry and sunflower oil markets and the respective international reference markets existed. Bolivian prices were determined by international prices and the policy interventions in the markets of these two commodities were not found to have had an effect. The government's large-scale wheat flour imports did not shield Bolivian consumers from the shocks of international prices.