Hungry for violence: How food security influences contentious politics
Davis, Stephen D.
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Using both national and individual level data this dissertation examines how food security influences political violence. Both grievance and resource mobilization theories show how and why food insecurity can lead to contentious politics. Overall, this dissertation’s findings support the following conclusions: First, food insecurity causes individual’s to be aggrieved. Second, grievances based on food insecurity do increase the likelihood that an individual will be willing to participate in protest activities. Third, not all food insecure individuals have the same likelihood of being willing to participate in protest activities. Individuals who are often hungry are more willing to participate in protest activities than individuals who are rarely hungry. Fourth, factors such as cell phones, income, and age, can moderate food insecurity’s effect on an individual’s willingness to participate in protest activities by reducing transaction costs that prevent individuals from organizing and mobilizing. Fifth, food insecurity can increase the likelihood of an intrastate conflict onset. Specifically, once a country’s food insecure population reaches a critical mass the likelihood of an intrastate conflict onset increases. Sixth, once a country’s food insecure population reaches a critical mass the likelihood of a protest occurrence decreases. Thus a large food insecure population increases the likelihood for action in one instance, but not in the other. These divergent results are likely linked to private benefits and sanction capabilities. Overall, this dissertation concludes that under certain circumstances food insecurity can lead to contentious politics.