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Argentino Pessoa
''Do the Malthusian fears ever die? A note on the recent increase in food prices''
( 2008, Vol. 17 No.22 )
Beginning with a snapshot of the recent raise in food prices, the present paper put in question the hypothesis of it be a response to the near end of resources. Examining some medium and long-run factors that explain the evolution of food production, with special focus on cereals, using data of the World Bank for the last 45 years, and a regression for a cross-section of 106 countries, we show that: a) the capacity to feed a growing population has been associated to a sustained increase in productivity, measured by the cereal yields b) the increase in cereal yields is negatively associated to the increase in land under cereal production c) there is large room to go on increasing cereal production and productivity in low and middle-income countries, profiting from the productivity gap that differentiate them from the high-income countries. So, the main conclusion is that the Limits to Grow' perspective and the associated Malthusian fears have no empirical support.
JEL: Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics: General
Q1 - Agriculture: General
Manuscript Received : Oct 27 2008 Manuscript Accepted : Dec 20 2008

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