Larson, Donald F.

Development Research Group, World Bank
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Fields of Specialization
Rural Development Policy; Natural Resource Policy; Agricultural Productivity and Growth; Climate Change Policy and Markets; Commodity Markets and Risk
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Development Research Group, World Bank
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Last updated: January 31, 2023
Donald F. Larson is a Senior Economist with the World Bank’s Development Research Group. He holds a B.A in economics from the College of William and Mary, an M.A. in economics from Virginia Tech, and a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Maryland. With colleagues, he has authored or edited five books, including An African Green Revolution: Finding Ways to Boost Productivity on Small Farms, a forthcoming volume from Springer, and The Clean Development Mechanism: An Early History of Unanticipated Outcomes, a forthcoming volume from World Scientific. He has published numerous book chapters and journal articles, with an emphasis on agricultural productivity and growth; food and rural development policies; natural resource policies; the institutions and markets related to climate change; and the performance of commodity futures and risk markets. During his time with the World Bank, Don has participated in policy discussion in Africa, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, East Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. He was a member of the team that launched the World Bank’s Prototype Carbon Fund.  
Citations 168 Scopus

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Food Security and Storage in the Middle East and North Africa

2014-01-23, Larson, Donald F., Gouel, Christophe, Cafiero, Carlo, Roberts, John

In times of highly volatile commodity markets, governments often try to protect their populations from rapidly rising food prices, which can be particularly harmful for the poor. A potential solution for food-deficit countries is to hold strategic reserves that can be called on when international prices spike. But how large should strategic stockpiles be, and what rules should govern their release? In this paper, we develop a dynamic competitive storage model for wheat in the Middle East and North Africa region, where imported wheat is the most significant component of the average diet. We analyze a strategy that sets aside wheat stockpiles, which can be used to keep domestic prices below a targeted price. Our analysis shows that if the target price is set high and reserves are adequate, the strategy can be effective and robust. Contrary to most interventions, strategic storage policies are counter-cyclical, and when the importing region is sufficiently large, a regional policy can smooth global prices. Simulations indicate that this is the case for the Middle East and North Africa region. Nevertheless, the policy is more costly than a procyclical policy similar to food stamps that uses targeted transfers to directly offset high prices with a subsidy.