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Was the Global Food Crisis Really a Crisis?

This paper aims to assess the suitability of using self-reported food security indicators to assess the welfare impact of the 2007–2008 global food crisis. It tests the usefulness of data from the Gallup World Poll (GWP) — a survey of self-reported food insecurity conducted before, during, and after the crisis — as an alternative to modelling estimates produced by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the US Department of Agriculture, and the World Bank.

The results suggest that although trends vary across countries, global self-reported food insecurity fell between 2005 and 2008, with the most reasonable estimate indicating 60–250 million fewer food-insecure people over that period. This trend contrasts with what was estimated by modelling-based methods. It is driven by rapid economic growth and limited food price inflation in China and India, among other heavily populated countries.