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Does Food Security Matter for Transition in Arab Countries?:

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  • Maystadt, Jean-François
  • Trinh Tan, Jean-François
  • Breisinger, Clemens

Abstract

Expectations are high that transition in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen will bring about more freedom, justice, and economic opportunities. However, experiences from other world regions show that countries in transition are at high risk of entering conflicts, which often come at large economic, social and political costs. In order to identify options on how conflict may be prevented in Arab transition countries, this paper assesses the key global drivers of conflicts based on a dataset from 1960 to 2010 and improved cross-country regression techniques. Results show that unlike in other studies where per capita incomes, inequality, and poor governance, among other factors, emerge as the major determinants of conflict, food security at macro- and micro-levels emerges as the main cause of conflicts in the Arab world. This “Arab exceptionalism in conflict†suggests that improving food security is not only important for improving the lives of rural and urban people; it is also likely to be the key for a peaceful transition.

Suggested Citation

  • Maystadt, Jean-François & Trinh Tan, Jean-François & Breisinger, Clemens, 2012. "Does Food Security Matter for Transition in Arab Countries?:," IFPRI discussion papers 1196, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1196
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    2. Martin-Shields, Charles P. & Stojetz, Wolfgang, 2019. "Food security and conflict: Empirical challenges and future opportunities for research and policy making on food security and conflict," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 150-164.
    3. Khalifa, Sherin & Petri, Svetlana & Henning, Christian H. C. A., 2020. "If climate change can trigger civil conflict, can good policy trigger peace? Empirical evidence from cross-country panel data," Working Papers of Agricultural Policy WP2020-01, University of Kiel, Department of Agricultural Economics, Chair of Agricultural Policy.
    4. Astrid Sneyers, 2017. "Food, Drought and Conflict Evidence from a Case-Study on Somalia," HiCN Working Papers 252, Households in Conflict Network.
    5. Hatab, Assem Abu & Hess, Sebastian, 2021. ""Feed the Mouth, the Eye Ashamed": Have Food Prices Triggered Social Unrest in Egypt?," 2021 Conference, August 17-31, 2021, Virtual 315082, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    6. Boulanger, Pierre & Kavallari, Aikaterini & M'barek, Robert & Rau, Marie Luise & Rutten, Martine, 2015. "Options to improve food security in North Africa: CGE modelling of deeper trade and investment integration with the European Union," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 211366, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    7. Jaafar, Hadi H. & Woertz, Eckart, 2016. "Agriculture as a funding source of ISIS: A GIS and remote sensing analysis," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 14-25.
    8. 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.
    9. Castro Campos, Bente & Ren, Yanjun & Loy, Jens-Peter, 2020. "Scarce water resources and cereal import dependency: The role of integrated water resources management," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    10. Clemens Breisinger & Tingju Zhu & Perrihan Al Riffai & Gerald Nelson & Richard Robertson & Jose Funes & Dorte Verner, 2013. "Economic Impacts Of Climate Change In Syria," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 4(01), pages 1-30.
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    food security; Transitional economies; Conflict;
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