International trade and the neoliberal diet in Central America and the Dominican Republic: Bringing social inequality to the center of analysis.

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Summary of "International trade and the neoliberal diet in Central America and the Dominican Republic: Bringing social inequality to the center of analysis."

Scholarship on international trade and health analyzes the effects of trade and investment policies on population exposure to non-nutritious foods. These policies are linked to the nutrition transition, or the dietary shift towards meat and processed foods associated with rising overweight and obesity rates in low- and middle-income countries. We argue for expanding the trade and health literature's focus on population exposure through the concept of the neoliberal diet, which centers subnational social inequality as both an outcome of neoliberal agri-food trade policies and a determinant of dietary change. We develop this perspective through a regional analysis of non-nutritious food availability following the implementation of the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), together with an extended case study, from the late 1990s to the present, of household expenditure and food price changes in the Dominican Republic, the region's largest food importer. Our analysis demonstrates that low-income consumers face increasing household food expenditures in a context of overall food price inflation, in addition to relatively higher price increases for healthy versus ultraprocessed foods. Neoliberal policies not only contribute to restructuring the availability and pricing of healthy food for low-income consumers, but they also exacerbate social inequality in the food system through corporate-controlled supply chains and farmer displacement. Our findings support policy proposals for socially distributive forms of healthy food production to stem the negative effects of the nutrition transition.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Social science & medicine (1982)
ISSN: 1873-5347
Pages: 112516


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A republic in the Greater Antilles in the West Indies. Its capital is Port-au-Prince. With the Dominican Republic it forms the island of Hispaniola - Haiti occupying the western third and the Dominican Republic, the eastern two thirds. Haiti belonged to France from 1697 until its rule was challenged by slave insurrections from 1791. It became a republic in 1820. It was virtually an American protectorate from 1915 to 1934. It adopted its present constitution in 1964 and amended it in 1971. The name may represent either of two Caribbean words, haiti, mountain land, or jhaiti, nest. (From Webster's New Geographical Dictionary, 1988, p481 & Room, Brewer's Dictionary of Names, 1992, p225)

A republic in the Greater Antilles in the West Indies. Its capital is Santo Domingo. With Haiti, it forms the island of Hispaniola - the Dominican Republic occupying the eastern two thirds, and Haiti, the western third. It was created in 1844 after a revolt against the rule of President Boyer over the entire island of Hispaniola, itself visited by Columbus in 1492 and settled the next year. Except for a brief period of annexation to Spain (1861-65), it has been independent, though closely associated with the United States. Its name comes from the Spanish Santo Domingo, Holy Sunday, with reference to its discovery on a Sunday. (From Webster's New Geographical Dictionary, 1988, p338, 506 & Room, Brewer's Dictionary of Names, 1992, p151)

A republic in central Africa, east of the REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO, south of the CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC and north of ANGOLA and ZAMBIA. The capital is Kinshasa.

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