Food, Fuel and Facts: Distributional Effects of Global Price Shocks

Author name: 
Bhattarai S
Chatterjee A
Udupa G

Exogenous global commodity price shocks lead to a significant decline over time in Indian household consumption. These negative effects are heterogeneous along the income distribution: households in lower income groups experience more adverse consumption effects following an exogenous rise in food prices, whereas households in the lowest and the two highest income groups are affected similarly following an exogenous rise in oil prices. We investigate how income and relative price changes contribute to generating these heterogeneous effects. Global food price shocks lead to significant negative wage income effects that mirror the pattern of negative consumption effects along the income distribution. Both global oil and food price shocks pass-through to local consumer prices in India and increase the relative prices of fuel and food respectively. Expenditure share of food increases with such a rise in relative prices, which provides unambiguous evidence for non-homothetic preferences. Using the expenditure share responses together with theory, we show that food, compared to fuel, is a necessary consumption good for all income groups.

Updated:  17 July 2024/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAMA admin