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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to assess the causal impact of trade policy distortions on food security. This is an hot issue since restrictions to agricultural trade have been generally applied by national governments, especially in developing countries, as a tool to insulate domestic markets from international prices turmoil. The added value of this work is twofold: i) the use of a non parametric matching technique with continuous treatment, namely the Generalised Propensity Score (GPS) to address the self selection bias; ii) the analysis of treatment (by commodities) as well as outcome heterogeneity (i.e., different dimensions of food security). The outcomes of our estimates show clearly that trade policy distortions are, overall, signficantly correlated with the various dimensions of food security under analysis but on the opposite direction than hoped for by policy-makers: countries less prone to adopt trade distortion policies tend to be better off in all the dimensions of food security (food availability, access, utilisation) with the relevant exception of food stability.

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