2017-2018 Undergraduate Research: Blog Post #1

Working title: The Relationship between Global Food Commodity Prices and Local Hunger: Volatility, Price Spikes, and the Global Hunger Index

This research project seeks to examine the relationship between global food prices and local hunger. Understanding this connection has been recognized as a valuable asset to reducing food insecurity in both local service programs for the poor and hungry (i.e., food banks), as well as supply chain management of global food programs (i.e., the United Nations World Food Programme). Within the last decade, world food markets have portrayed rising and more volatile prices, cutting into poor families’ household spending on vital goods and services and forcing them to reduce their number of calories consumed. It can also affect their nutrition by leaving them with no choice but to shift to lower quality and less micronutrient-dense foods (von Grebmer et al. 2011).

Dr. Tekula and I were also awarded the Undergraduate Student-Faculty Summer Research Grant and are continuing our research throughout the academic year. We are examining how volatility and price spikes in global food commodities are related to local hunger levels. For our data on hunger, we are using The Global Hunger Index, containing data from the past 26 years for the 118 hungriest countries. For our data on food commodity prices, we are using data from Commodity Systems Incorporated to analyze trends in the market.

As a student, I am extremely excited about playing a key role in building a research project from start to finish and learning all the critical steps in between. I expect to enhance my skills in data analytics and attention to detail throughout the course of the project, as well as the ability to research and identify quality journal articles. We will continue to perform regression analyses in Stata and Excel in order to test our research questions, as well as explore additional online journals to grow our literature review section. I am looking forward to continuing my work with Dr. Tekula!