Food Price Volatilities and Civilian Victimization in Africa

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Conflict Management and Peace Science


This paper studies the impact of food insecurity on civilian–rebel interactions. We argue that food price volatilities affect the incentives of insurgent groups and their subsequent treatment of civilians. The hypotheses developed in this study are empirically evaluated across a battery of statistical models using monthly data from a sample of 112 first administrative districts in sub-Saharan Africa. The results show that increases in food insecurity substantially raise the likelihood of insurgent groups committing violence against civilians and that districts with a higher proportion of agricultural land are at greatest risk of civilian victimization by rebel groups during these episodes of food insecurity. The implications of this analysis suggest that the human impact of food insecurity does not simply relate to nutrition and questions of governance. Food price volatilities also incentivize the use of violence against civilians by non-state actors, which is a pertinent concern of human rights organizations and policymakers.


Civilian victimization, Food insecurity, insurgency, Violence



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