A substantial amount of behind the scenes work to our research has been carried out since my first blog post and is continuing. Our initial research question has been in the process of shifting, due to our results and additional research from other authors. Rather than looking at how the volatility and price spikes in global food commodities are related to local hunger levels, we are now examining whether the price of global food commodities are predictive of local hunger. Our key local hunger indicator is the under-five mortality rate, as measured by The World Bank. While these two topics may sound similar, we shift our focus to analyzing the daily data from Commodity Systems Incorporated and how this impacts the under-five mortality rate of children across the globe.
A whole lot of regression-running in Stata, the statistical analysis software we are using to perform our analyses, was one of the key factors that led us to change our research focus. I found through the regression results that meat products seem to be highly correlated to the under-five mortality rates of children across the globe. From reviewing the literature of past research in this field, I found that this relationship does not seem to have been looked at yet. Many researchers, economists, and scholars have focused on agriculture crops such as wheat, corn, and maize.
I am excited to discover one of our key questions: specifically, which food commodities and combination of food prices are most predictive of local hunger?