Worldwide, food prices have been rising over the past decade. Here, for example, is the UN FAO food price index.
In real terms, the world food price index is higher today than it has been in 40 years.
Enter this new paper by Marc Bellemare just published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. He finds:
As is typical of Marc's work, this is a careful analysis of the issue. He takes issues like endogeneity seriously (do higher food prices cause social unrest or does social unrest cause higher food prices or does some third factor case both?) and he considers the sensitivity of his results to the data he uses and model specification.
A couple excerpts from the conclusions: