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Role of Income Inequality in Shaping Outcomes on Individual Food Insecurity

Background Paper for The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019

C. Holleman (author) V. Conti (author)

ISBN: 9789251336090

Publication Date: Mar 2021

Format: Paperback

This background study for the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 shows how income inequality and GDP per capita, analysed both alone and together, determine the probability of individual food insecurity in low- and middle-income countries.
£22.95

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This background study for the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 shows how income inequality and GDP per capita, analysed both alone and together, determine the probability of individual food insecurity in low- and middle-income countries. Results show that increases in the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita are concurrent with declines in individual food insecurity.

The study uses the 2014 Gallup World Poll (GWP) dataset on a sample of 75 low- and middle-income countries to collect individual and household socio-economic information, and merges it with two country-level characteristics: GDP per capita and the Gini index of income inequality. The result is a unique dataset containing information at different levels of disaggregation that comprise individual, household and country-level variables. The GWP dataset of individual food insecurity is based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) and employs a three-level linear probability model to assess the macro-economic effects of economic growth and income inequality on individual food insecurity.

The results show that individuals living in countries with a high Gini index have on average a 33 percentage point higher probability of experiencing severe food insecurity and a 42 percentage point higher probability of moderate or severe food insecurity. Importantly, the results also indicate that high income inequality works to undercut the contribution of per capita GDP in reducing individual food insecurity, both in terms of severe and moderate or severe food insecurity. The findings suggest that by tackling income inequality, economic growth can become a force for reducing food insecurity, especially in low- and middle-income countries

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