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Measuring food insecurity: Can an indicator based on localized coping behaviors be used to compare across contexts?

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  • Maxwell, Daniel
  • Caldwell, Richard
  • Langworthy, Mark

Abstract

The Coping Strategies Index (CSI) was developed as a context-specific indicator of food insecurity that counts up and weights coping behaviors at the household level. It has proven useful to operational humanitarian agencies and researchers in measuring localized food insecurity, but to date has not been useful to compare the relative severity of different crises and has therefore has not been particularly useful for geographic targeting or resource allocation. This paper analyzes data from 14 surveys in crisis-affected or chronically vulnerable countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that incorporated the context-specific CSI. The paper identifies a sub-set of individual coping behaviors common to all surveys, whose severity is regarded as broadly similar by households across these studies. Data from these studies were re-analyzed using a reduced index constructed from only these behaviors. Correlations of this new index with other known food security indicators are similar to those of the complete, context-specific CSI. This suggests the possibility that an indicator based on these common behaviors could be used to compare the types of food security crises analyzed here across different contexts - particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa - to improve geographic targeting and resource allocation, according to the severity of crises. This new, more comparative indicator can be generated with no loss to the context-specific nature of the original CSI, which has proven useful for assessment and monitoring purposes.

Suggested Citation

  • Maxwell, Daniel & Caldwell, Richard & Langworthy, Mark, 2008. "Measuring food insecurity: Can an indicator based on localized coping behaviors be used to compare across contexts?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 533-540, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:33:y:2008:i:6:p:533-540
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ruel, Marie T., 2002. "Is dietary diversity an indicator of food security or dietary quality?," FCND discussion papers 140, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    Cited by:

    1. Nanama, Siméon & Frongillo, Edward A., 2012. "Altered social cohesion and adverse psychological experiences with chronic food insecurity in the non-market economy and complex households of Burkina Faso," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 444-451.
    2. Benita Y. Tam & Leanne Findlay & Dafna Kohen, 2014. "Social Networks as a Coping Strategy for Food Insecurity and Hunger for Young Aboriginal and Canadian Children," Societies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(3), pages 1-14, September.
    3. Poulsen, Melissa N. & McNab, Philip R. & Clayton, Megan L. & Neff, Roni A., 2015. "A systematic review of urban agriculture and food security impacts in low-income countries," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 131-146.
    4. Generoso, Rémi, 2015. "How do rainfall variability, food security and remittances interact? The case of rural Mali," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 188-198.
    5. M. Mabuza & G. Ortmann & E. Wale, 2016. "Frequency and extent of employing food insecurity coping strategies among rural households: determinants and implications for policy using evidence from Swaziland," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 8(1), pages 255-269, February.
    6. Edeh, Hyacinth Onuorah & Gyimah-Brempong, Kwabena, 2014. "Determinants of Change and Household Responses to Food Insecurity: Empirical Evidence from Nigeria," 88th Annual Conference, April 9-11, 2014, AgroParisTech, Paris, France 169750, Agricultural Economics Society.
    7. Abafita, Jemal & Kim, Kyung-Ryang, 2014. "Determinants of Household Food Security in Rural Ethiopia: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Rural Development/Nongchon-Gyeongje, Korea Rural Economic Institute, vol. 37(2), July.
    8. repec:eee:wdevel:v:104:y:2018:i:c:p:271-280 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Kabunga, Nassul S. & Dubois, Thomas & Qaim, Matin, 2014. "Impact of tissue culture banana technology on farm household income and food security in Kenya," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 25-34.
    10. Cole, Steven M. & Tembo, Gelson, 2011. "The effect of food insecurity on mental health: Panel evidence from rural Zambia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(7), pages 1071-1079.
    11. repec:spd:journl:v:67:y:2017:i:3:p:18-31 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. M. L. Mabuza & G. F. Ortmann & E. Wale, 2016. "Frequency and extent of employing food insecurity coping strategies among rural households: determinants and implications for policy using evidence from Swaziland," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 8(1), pages 255-269, February.
    13. Muzi Na & Alden L. Gross & Lee S. F. Wu & Bess L. Caswell & Sameera A. Talegawkar & Amanda C. Palmer, 2016. "Internal validity of the Food Access Survey Tool in assessing household food insecurity in rural Zambia," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 8(3), pages 679-688, June.
    14. repec:eee:jfpoli:v:75:y:2018:i:c:p:52-67 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:eee:wdevel:v:96:y:2017:i:c:p:78-86 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Bacon, Christopher M. & Sundstrom, William A. & Stewart, Iris T. & Beezer, David, 2017. "Vulnerability to Cumulative Hazards: Coping with the Coffee Leaf Rust Outbreak, Drought, and Food Insecurity in Nicaragua," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 136-152.
    17. repec:eee:jfpoli:v:74:y:2018:i:c:p:117-125 is not listed on IDEAS

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