Food security and conflict: Empirical challenges and future opportunitites for research and policy making on food security and conflict
This article by 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. This article makes three contributions: First, it defines conflict and food security using the standard Uppsala Conflict Data Program and the FAO databases, and illustrates how intervening factors influence the relationship between conflict and food security at the micro and macro levels. Second, is provides a comprehensive review of the literature 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 beyond endogeneity and chart ways forward is highlighted to improve the existing bodies of data and support new data collection to fill the academic gaps and support policy making. Results show that causal and substantive links exist between food security and violent conflict, spanning the individual up to global levels. The article also provides policy makers with analysis of data challenges. Closing data gaps will be essential for producing effective food security and peacebuilding policies.