Conflict, Food Price Shocks, and Food Insecurity: The Experience of Afghan Households

32 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2012

See all articles by Anna D'Souza

Anna D'Souza

School of Public Affairs, Baruch College, CUNY

Dean Jolliffe

World Bank; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Using nationally-representative household survey data and confidential geo-coded data on violence, we examine the linkages between conflict, food insecurity, and food price shocks in Afghanistan. Spatial mappings of the raw data reveal large variations in levels of food insecurity and conflict across the country; surprisingly, food insecurity is not higher in conflict areas. In a multivariate regression framework, we exploit the 2008 spike in wheat flour prices to estimate differential effects on household food security – measured by calorie intake and the real value of food consumed – based on the level of conflict in the province where the household is located. We find robust evidence that households in provinces with higher levels of conflict experience larger declines in food security than households in provinces with lower levels of conflict. Therefore while conflict may not be the driving factor in overall levels of food insecurity in Afghanistan, it may limit the coping mechanisms available to households in the face of rising food prices. Gaining a better understanding of such linkages and knowing the spatial distribution of food insecurity can serve to inform policymakers interested in targeting scarce resources to vulnerable populations, for example, through the placement of strategic grain reserves or targeted food assistance programs.

Keywords: Afghanistan, food security, conflict, nutrition, poverty, spatial distribution

JEL Classification: D12, I3, O12

Suggested Citation

D'Souza, Anna E. and Jolliffe, Dean Mitchell, Conflict, Food Price Shocks, and Food Insecurity: The Experience of Afghan Households. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6621, Available at SSRN:

Anna E. D'Souza (Contact Author)

School of Public Affairs, Baruch College, CUNY ( email )

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Box D-0901
New York, NY NY 10010
United States
646-660-6810 (Phone)

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Dean Mitchell Jolliffe

World Bank ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States


IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072


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