Where and why food prices lead to social upheaval

by Cullen S. Hendrix and Stephan M. Haggard

A protest against rising food prices in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in July 2014. Photo: Amit Dave/Reuters

Between 2000 and 2011, prices for most globally traded commodities more than doubled. Since cresting in early 2011, however, oil and industrial metals prices have halved. As the saying goes, however: What’s that got to do with the price of eggs? Not much. Unlike other commodities, global food prices have followed a different trajectory. Although down from near-historic highs in 2007-2008 and 2011, they are still higher than at any point in the previous three decades.