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Global food security and food riots – an agent-based modelling approach


  • Davide Natalini

    (Anglia Ruskin University)

  • Giangiacomo Bravo

    (Linnaeus University
    Linnaeus University Center for Data Intensive Sciences & Applications (DISA@LNU))

  • Aled Wynne Jones

    (Anglia Ruskin University)


Due to negative consequences of climate change for agriculture and food production shocks affecting different areas of the world, the past two decades saw the conditions of global food security increasingly worsen. This has resulted in negative consequences for the world economy, partly causing international food price spikes and social upheavals. In this paper we present statistical findings along with a preliminary version of an original agent-based model called the Dawe Global Security Model that simulates the global food market and the political fragility of countries. The model simulates the effects of food insecurity on international food prices and how these, coupled with national political fragility and international food trade can, in turn, increase the probability of food riots in countries. The agents in the model are the 213 countries of the world whose characteristics reflect empirical data and the international trade of food is also simulated based on real trade partnerships and data. The model has been informed, calibrated and validated using real data and the results of these procedures are presented in the paper. To further test the model we also present the model’s forecasts for the near future in terms of food prices and incidence of food riots. The Dawe Global Security Model can be used to test scenarios on the evolution of shocks to global food production and analyse consequences for food riots. Further developments of the model can include national responses to food crises to investigate how countries can influence the spread of global food crises.

Suggested Citation

  • Davide Natalini & Giangiacomo Bravo & Aled Wynne Jones, 2019. "Global food security and food riots – an agent-based modelling approach," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 11(5), pages 1153-1173, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ssefpa:v:11:y:2019:i:5:d:10.1007_s12571-017-0693-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s12571-017-0693-z

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Natalini, Davide & Bravo, Giangiacomo & Newman, Edward, 2020. "Fuel riots: definition, evidence and policy implications for a new type of energy-related conflict," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 147(C).
    2. Aled Jones & Sarah Bridle & Katherine Denby & Riaz Bhunnoo & Daniel Morton & Lucy Stanbrough & Barnaby Coupe & Vanessa Pilley & Tim Benton & Pete Falloon & Tom K. Matthews & Saher Hasnain & John S. He, 2023. "Scoping Potential Routes to UK Civil Unrest via the Food System: Results of a Structured Expert Elicitation," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(20), pages 1-21, October.
    3. Yousef, Sahar, 2020. "Can Trade Liberalization in Agricultural Products Mitigate the Effect of Climate Change on Civil Strife?," 2020 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, Kansas City, Missouri 304609, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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