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Abstract

When food prices shoot over import parity, this often leads to social and political unrest and even the toppling of governments. If markets behaved efficiently and in the absence of trade barriers, food prices should not exceed the price in world markets plus the cost of importing it to domestic markets (i.e., import parity). However, food prices routinely soar above import parity in several countries of East and Southern Africa, causing widespread hunger and asset depletion among the poor.

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