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Conflict, Food Price Shocks, and Food Insecurity: The Experience of Afghan Households


  • D'Souza, Anna

    () (Economic Research Service, USDA)

  • Jolliffe, Dean

    () (World Bank)


Using nationally-representative household survey data and confidential geo-coded data on violence, we examine the linkages between conflict, food insecurity, and food price shocks in Afghanistan. Spatial mappings of the raw data reveal large variations in levels of food insecurity and conflict across the country; surprisingly, food insecurity is not higher in conflict areas. In a multivariate regression framework, we exploit the 2008 spike in wheat flour prices to estimate differential effects on household food security – measured by calorie intake and the real value of food consumed – based on the level of conflict in the province where the household is located. We find robust evidence that households in provinces with higher levels of conflict experience larger declines in food security than households in provinces with lower levels of conflict. Therefore while conflict may not be the driving factor in overall levels of food insecurity in Afghanistan, it may limit the coping mechanisms available to households in the face of rising food prices. Gaining a better understanding of such linkages and knowing the spatial distribution of food insecurity can serve to inform policymakers interested in targeting scarce resources to vulnerable populations, for example, through the placement of strategic grain reserves or targeted food assistance programs.

Suggested Citation

  • D'Souza, Anna & Jolliffe, Dean, 2012. "Conflict, Food Price Shocks, and Food Insecurity: The Experience of Afghan Households," IZA Discussion Papers 6621, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6621

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anna D'Souza & Dean Jolliffe, 2012. "Rising Food Prices and Coping Strategies: Household-level Evidence from Afghanistan," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(2), pages 282-299, August.
    2. Angus Deaton & Salman Zaidi, 2002. "Guidelines for Constructing Consumption Aggregates for Welfare Analysis," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14101.
    3. D'Souza, Anna & Jolliffe, Dean, 2010. "Rising food prices and coping strategies : household-level evidence from Afghanistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5466, The World Bank.
    4. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
    5. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2010. "Civil War," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 3-57, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bove, Vincenzo & Gavrilova, Evelina, 2014. "Income and Livelihoods in the War in Afghanistan," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 113-131.
    2. Mamoon, Dawood & Ijaz, Kinza, 2017. "How Climate Change and Agriculture Fares with Food Security in Pakistan?," MPRA Paper 81346, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Arezki, Rabah & Brueckner, Markus, 2014. "Effects of International Food Price Shocks on Political Institutions in Low-Income Countries: Evidence from an International Food Net-Export Price Index," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 142-153.
    4. Astrid Sneyers, "undated". "Food, Drought and Conflict Evidence from a Case-Study on Somalia," HiCN Working Papers 252, Households in Conflict Network.

    More about this item


    Afghanistan; food security; conflict; nutrition; poverty; spatial distribution;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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