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Famine Mortality, Rational Political Inactivity, and International Food Aid

LSE PSPE Working Paper No. 2

41 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2007 Last revised: 19 Apr 2015

Thomas Pluemper

Vienna University of Economics and Business - Department of Socioeconomics; University of Essex - Department of Government

Eric Neumayer

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

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Date Written: May 1, 2008

Abstract

Famine mortality is preventable by government action and yet some famines kill. We develop a political theory of famine mortality based on the selectorate theory of Bueno de Mesquita et al. (2002, 2003). We argue that it can be politically rational for a government, democratic or not, to remain inactive in the face of severe famine threat. We derive the testable hypotheses that famine mortality is possible in democracies, but likely to be lower than in autocracies. Moreover, a larger share of people being affected by famine relative to population size together with large quantities of international food aid being available will lower mortality in both regime types, but more so in democracies.

Keywords: famine, mortality, food aid, democracy, autocracy, developing countries

Suggested Citation

Pluemper, Thomas and Neumayer, Eric, Famine Mortality, Rational Political Inactivity, and International Food Aid (May 1, 2008). LSE PSPE Working Paper No. 2. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1078125 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1078125

Thomas Plümper

Vienna University of Economics and Business - Department of Socioeconomics ( email )

Vienna
Austria

University of Essex - Department of Government ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.polsci.org/pluemper

Eric Neumayer (Contact Author)

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
WC2A 2AE London
United Kingdom
+44 207 955 7598 (Phone)
+44 207 955 7412 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/neumayer

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