Do poverty and poor health and nutrition increase the risk of armed conflict onset?
We analyze the effects of improving the economic, food security and health status on the risk of armed cotntectflict onset, focusing on the factors related to the millennium development goals. We employ the discrete-time hazard model that allows us to examine the time-varying effects of socioeconomic factors controlling for the reverse effect of conflict. Our results show that income poverty and poor health and nutritional status are more significantly associated with armed conflict onset than GDP per capita, annual GDP growth, and the ratio of primary commodity exports over GDP. In particular, poor health and nutritional status seems to play a key role in inducing armed conflicts in poor countries. These results indicate that, when a majority of the poor and the malnourished resides in rural areas and depends on agriculture directly or indirectly, investments in public goods for agriculture and rural areas can be effective tools to achieve the multiple goals of reduced poverty, food security and armed conflict, including riots in early 2008 triggered by high food prices. Food policy can be an effective element of efforts to maintain stability.
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