University of Florida

African Studies Quarterly

Skip to main Content   Search   Main Navigation   Quick Links   Resources   Website   Social   Address   What is this view

Main Navigation

Quick Links

Home Bread and Freedom: Linking Democracy and Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa

Bread and Freedom: Linking Democracy and Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa

by Kirk Harris

Abstract

This article looks at the effect of politics on food security in thirty-­eight Sub‑Saharan African nations since 1990. In so doing, it helps clarify the causal mechanisms through which democracy impacts hunger. In contrast to previous empirical research where democracy is often treated as one‑dimensional, this study incorporates multiple measures of democracy and freedom. The cross‑national statistical analysis uses data from the Global Hunger Index of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), as well as data on democracy and civil liberties from a variety of extant sources. The article finds that while variables measuring the procedural and institutional elements of democracy are not connected to levels of hunger in Africa, the protection of civil liberties is moderately associated with improved food security. This conclusion is borne out by a brief case study of Ghana, whose democratic transition in the 1990s has proceeded in tandem with significant reductions in hunger. Taken together, this suggests that the positive effects of democracy on food security in Africa are not a result of the opportunity for Africans to discipline non‑responsive elites at the polls, but of the effectiveness of political liberalization in creating new spaces for vulnerable populations to mobilize and to make their voices heard.

Full Text PDF


Kirk Harris is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at Indiana University. His research focuses on the political economy of development in Sub-­‐‑Saharan Africa. He has conducted dissertation field work in Kenya with the support of the National Science Foundation and the Indiana University Workshop on Political Theory and Policy Analysis.

Footer

Resources

Website

Social links

Address

What is this view?

You are using a dynamic assistive view of the University of Florida site. It has all the same data and features of the original site but formatted just with assistive users in mind. It has links and content reorganized to aid assistive users and has controls at the bottom under assistive options that allow you to control key aspects such as font size and contrast colors etc.
This is not a separate text-only site, it's a dynamic view that uses unique technology from Usablenet to give assistive users better, more accessible access to the same content and features as all users that use the graphic view of the site.

Assistive Options

Top of page


Assistive Options

Open the original version of this page.

Usablenet Assistive is a Usablenet product. Usablenet Assistive Main Page.