The introduction opens with a brief history of food price volatility and then summarizes the nine chapters that investigate the economics of food price volatility along five directions of inquiry. First, they document the recent and historical patterns in food price volatility, including the evolving food supply and demand conditions. Second, they study how food price volatility relates to linkages between food markets and energy markets, with special attention given to the role of biofuel policy. Third, they assess the impact of storage and speculation on food price volatility. Fourth, they examine the role of international markets, with a focus on the role of trade policy. Finally, they evaluate the distributional and welfare effects of food price volatility and their effects on the poor around the world.
Keywords: welfare, biofuel, food price, trade policy, supply and demand, energy market, international markets