The aim of this paper is to examine the relationship between food insecurity and conflict events short of war in Africa, taking account of a host of mediating factors, including the degree of inequality, the level of development, democratic quality, quality of governance and the degree of government expenditure, which we incorporate into our analysis. Our results suggest that food price volatility does contribute significantly to conflict events measured by political events in Africa (ACLED). Greater democracy can engender more conflict, but in a non-linear fashion. The broader V-DEM participatory index of democracy also encourages more protest. Our governance variables are significant, emphasising the salience of state capacity in this regard. An innovation of our study is the inclusion of inequality. We deploy two metrics of vertical inequality: the GINI coefficient and the broader V-DEM egalitarian index. The GINI index of income inequality has a counter-intuitive statistically insignificant sign, suggesting that greater income equality or middle-class share of income results in greater political unrest. We also utilise political measures of inter-group horizontal inequality which significantly engender conflict risk.
- food price
- government expenditure