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Still puzzled and concerned about the global food price crisis after reading Arvind Subramanian's smart Q&A? CGD non-resident fellow Peter Timmer peels back the layers of complexity in a thoughtful online audio interview on WILL AM 580, the broadcasting service of the University of Illinois. Timmer, who estimated in an April 21 CGD Q&A that 10 million people could die prematurely as a result of the crisis, argues that the sharp spike in prices in the last six to eight months has a substantial speculative element. But he also warns that current yields are close to the technological frontier. "We are paying the price of two or three decades of neglect of agricultural research," he says, adding that biofuel subsidies are a big part of the problem.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD does not take institutional positions.