Working Paper
A Cacophony of Policy Responses

Evidence from Fourteen Countries During the 2007/08 Food Price Crisis

Phenomenal increases in food prices in 2007 and 2008 caused governments around the globe to panic. During the chaos which ensued, most developing countries responded to the crisis with a convoluted array of policies intended to stabilize domestic markets, placate consumers and other stakeholders, protect the vulnerable and, occasionally, address long-term food security concerns. However, there was a great deal of variation in the extent of intervention and the types of policies selected. Even among particular policy types, there was tremendous heterogeneity in timing, scale, implementation mechanisms, and other features. Utilizing a newly compiled sample of fourteen country-level case studies, this paper assimilates available evidence to compare the specifics of crisis responses. In this regard it differs from other policy response studies which focus more on policy types and titles, ignoring the details.