National agricultural policies are often rationalized on “food security” grounds. This paper evaluates such rationales. For example, I show investments in local agricultural productivity may not significantly improve food security when trade can substitute for local production. Policymakers often claim reliance on local food production enhances food security. An Index of National Food Security incorporates variable market prices, but shows that for South Korea, blocking imports clearly lowers food security, although world rice prices are quite variable.
View PDF here: Food Security, Trade and Agricultural Commodity Policy by Daniel A. Sumner presented at the symposium “Challenging the Agricultural Economics Paradigm,” Columbus, Ohio.