Economic Woman

Econometrics, gender, equity and more.

Posts Tagged ‘poverty

Grocery bills on the brain

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Feminist blogs are tackling gendered aspects of food price increases. To be honest, I’m still working my way through technical points that have been posted on the economics side – I knew I had reached a new level of geek the other week when I enthusiastically clicked on a link titled “the problem with fertilizer” – but this post from Feminocracy, based loosely around two links, has helped me frame my thinking a little bit.

The first point I’ve taken from it is the disproportionate impact of food price increases on women in the developing world. When food is more expensive, some women may be the last to eat in their family. They are also likely to work longer hours in the informal sector, which doesn’t provide benefits or minimum wage.

The second point that finally hit home is the magnitude and consequences of grocery price increases in the US. I wonder if economists have been too quick to dismiss 10-30% increases in staples. Certainly the West enjoys remarkably cheap and plentiful food, but for those already on the margin this has got to have welfare effects.

That got me wondering about Canadian prices. I know that bread is a little bit more expensive, and I also know that my monthly grocery bill has changed barely a cent since January. But I couldn’t tell you how much I paid for eggs last week – I tend to concentrate on prices relevant to my decision, i.e. this brand vs. that brand vs. a substitute product – so that might just be increasing thriftiness. Anyway, it looks like my first instincts are right: if CP can be trusted, we haven’t seen anything like the US price increases, likely thanks to the strong dollar. Thank you Alberta – at least our laid-off auto workers can buy cheap eggs.

Written by Allison

15 May 2008 at 11:51 am

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