Food security and conflict: Empirical challenges and future opportunities for research and policy making on food security and conflict
This article, in the World Development journal, emphasizes the endogeneity that characterizes the coupling between food (in)security and violent conflict. During the previous decade there has been an increased focus on the role of food security in conflict processes, both in the academic and policy communities. While the policy community has pushed forward with new programs, the academic debate about the causal linkages between food security and conflict remains debated. The article makes three contributions. First, conflict and food security are defined using the standard Uppsala Conflict Data Program and the FAO databases, and it is illustrated how intervening factors influence the relationship between conflict and food security at the micro and macro levels. Second, a comprehensive review of the literature is provided on linkages between food security and conflict, focusing on findings that account for endogeneity issues and have a causal interpretation. Third, policy-affecting data gaps are highlighted beyond endogeneity and chart ways forward to improve the existing bodies of data and support new data collection to fill the academic gaps and support policy making. The article frames the ongoing debate around the causal relationship between food security and conflict, while also providing policy makers with analysis of data challenges and opportunities for innovation in food security and peacebuilding. Results reveal that causal and substantive links exist between food security and violent conflict, spanning the individual up to global levels. For policy makers, closing data gaps will be essential for producing effective food security and peacebuilding policies.