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Abstract, World Development, 2017

Until recently there was lacking a common food security measure and the necessary data to study the individual-level determinants of food insecurity around the world. In 2014, the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Voices of the Hungry project developed an experiential measure of food insecurity, the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES), translated it into 200 languages, and contracted Gallup, Inc. for collection of data through the Gallup World Poll. This is the first paper that identifies and examines the common determinants of food insecurity in 134 countries using this cross-country comparable experiential measure of food insecurity. We also investigate whether and to what extent the common determinants of food insecurity identified in a global model differ across rankings of economic development. Using a series of multilevel linear probability models, we find that the five characteristics associated with the largest increase in the likelihood of experiencing food insecurity around the world are: having low levels of education, weak social networks, less social capital, low household income, and being unemployed. We also find significant heterogeneity in the determinants of food insecurity over development rankings. This study is an important first step in utilizing the new FIES to document risk factors of food insecurity around the globe.


Food Insecure