Effects of violent political conflict on the supply, demand and fragmentation of fresh food markets
This study (PDF) in the Food Security journal analysed consequences of conflict on economic and physical access to food, as this is one of the core aspects often being reported to be impeded in during conflict escalations causing transitory food insecurity. The current literature has mostly analysed economic effects of conflict, or conflict as a result of threatened food security at the macro-level. A limited number of studies have started to focus on the micro-economic effects of conflict on food markets. This study introduced an empirical framework that enables decomposing micro-economic effects of violent political conflict on food markets. Combining daily data on the sales of apples in the Hebron wholesale market with daily measurements of conflict intensity, significant effects of conflict on apple marketing and demand are found. Demand for apples collapses on days of escalating conflict, as well as welfare loss. Market size as well as total daily apple consumption quantities are found to be substantially reduced during intensive conflict at local level. The effect of suppressing demand is found to be more significant than the increase in marginal costs. The findings suggest that it is access to food in the given case that is more severely impeded by conflict than availability. Moreover, results suggest that it is important for relief policies to focus on alleviating effects of fragmentation of economic space. Future research could deepen and extend the understanding of economic effects of violent political conflict on food markets, food security, actual nutritional patterns and nutrition vulnerability at the micro-level. Further research could also assess nutritional impacts of conflict when demand effects of various commodities are translated into nutritional intake.