Welfare Impacts of Soaring Food Prices on Iranian Urban Households: Evidence from survey data

Document Type : Research Paper



On December 2010, the government of Iran ended the decades-long subsidy program for bread and energy products and launched the Targeted Subsidy Reform program that considerably raised prices of food products. The objective of the study was to measure welfare impacts of food price changes on Iranian urban households between two survey data of 2009/10 and 2011/12 which were taken from Iranian household survey (HEIS) raw data. Food consumption behaviour in Iran is analyzed by estimating a complete food demand system using Quadratic Almost Ideal Demand System (QUAIDS). The elasticity coefficients derived from QUAIDS are used to evaluate impacts of the relative food price changes in terms of Compensated Variations (CV). Based on our estimates, the food groups of meat, edible oils, fruits and dried fruits and Sugary products are luxury goods, with income elasticity above one. Cereals, dairy products, vegetable and pulses, Potables and Spices are necessary goods, as their budget elasticity is positive and below one at the same time. Results showed that all urban households, suffered welfare loses from rise in the food prices during 2009-10 and 2011-12. In addition the high share of cereals in year 2011-12 implies that urban households shift their consumption to cheaper calorie source after implementation of Targeted Subsidy Reform Program. This figure is confirmed with the decline in the share of meat, dairy Products, fruits and dried fruits, vegetables and pulses and potables expenditure.