Working Papers

Food Security for Whom? The Effectiveness of Food Reserves in Poor Developing Countries.

Randall Romero-Aguilar and Mario J. Miranda

Abstract: During the Global Food Price Crisis of 2007-2011, millions of people suffered from hunger because food had become expensive. To cope with this problem, the governments of several countries decided to establish public food reserves in order to stabilize domestic prices. In this paper we develop a model to evaluate the optimal grain storage policy for a poor grain-importing country. Households are heterogeneous in their income endowment, and those who cannot afford enough food suffer from hunger. The international price of grain follows a Markov process with two states (tranquil periods and food crises), and households are unable to self-insure against changes in this price. The objective of the reserve operation is to reduce hunger rates. The model captures the trade-off in implementing the policy: raising a stock to prevent hunger tomorrow requires resources that could be used to reduce hunger today. Parameters are calibrated to reflect food supply and demand in Haiti. Our results suggest that rather than storing food, a better approach for a poor country is to focus on fighting poverty directly, since the modest social protection provided by a storage policy could be also be obtained through relatively small improvements in income per capita and income distribution.


 Annual Meeting of the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association, Minneapolis, MN. July 27-29, 2014
Central Bank of Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica.  Invited speaker, June 02, 2014
Department of AED Economics, Ohio State University. PhD Research Seminar, January 15, 2014


The Global Food Price Crisis and China-World Rice Market Integration: A Spatial-Temporal Rational Expectations Equilibrium Model.

Xianglin Liu, Randall Romero-Aguilar, Shu-Ling Chen and Mario J. Miranda Selected Paper for the 2013 AAEA & CAES Joint Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, August 4-6, 2013 (pdf)

Abstract In this paper, we examine how China, the world’s largest rice producer and consumer, would affect the international rice market if it liberalized its trade in rice and became more fully integrated into the global rice market. The impacts of trade liberalization are estimated using a spatial-temporal rational expectations model of the world rice market characterized by four interdependent markets with stochastic production patterns, constant-elasticity demands, expected-pro t maximizing private speculative storers,and government stockpiling authorities. The results show that full entry by China into the world ricemarket will substantially reduce and stabilize the world rice price, reducing the risk faced by majorimporters, particularly price spikes caused by restrictive trade policies implemented by major exporters.

Booms and Busts in Latin America: The Role of External Factors.

Alejandro Izquierdo, Randall Romero and Ernesto Talvi Inter-American Development Bank, Working Paper 631, February 2008 (pdf)

Abstract This paper analyzes the relevance of external factors in average quarterly GDP growth for 1990-2006 in the seven largest Latin American countries (LAC7).Modeling the relationship between LAC7 GDP and several external factors, it is found that those factors account for a significant share of variance in LAC7 GDP growth, and that external shocks produce significant responses. Likewise, a significant share of recent LAC7 growth performance can be explained by an external factor “tailwind.” Also evaluated is the impact of deterioration in external financial conditions. Finally, the relevance of these findings for policy evaluation is emphasized. Growth performance, the strength or weakness of macroeconomic fundamentals and the impact of domestic macro and micro policies on growth can only be properly appraised by first filtering out the effects of external factors.

Licentiate Thesis

Pass-through en Costa Rica: Determinación del coeficiente para bienes transables y no transables, 1991-2001

Randall Romero-Aguilar Universidad de Costa Rica, Julio de 2002 (in Spanish) (pdf)

Work in Progress

Drivers of the World Grain Price Crisis in the Short- and Long-Run: A Spatial-Temporal Rational Expectations Equilibrium Approach

Randall Romero-Aguilar and Mario J. Miranda

Effects of Trends in Chinese Production, Consumption, and Price Support Policies on World Grain Price Volatility and Food Security

Mario J. Miranda,  Joseph W. Glauber and Randall Romero-Aguilar (pdf)