A Recipe for Democracy? The Spread of the European Diet and Political Change
42 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2016
Date Written: June 20, 2016
This paper reveals the relationship between the improvement in human diet and the transition to democracy. The spread of a ‘European diet’ with a historically unprecedented high proportion of animal protein in the daily calorie intake is considered one of the factors of regime change since 1992. In contrast to other studies, I regard European diet as an outcome of a long historical transformation and show that an improvement in nutrition preceded regime change. Data on nutrient consumption around the world are from the Food balance sheet data from FAOSTAT. Based on this data I was able to define a European diet as containing animal-protein rich items (mostly, meat and dairy), alcohol beverages and sugar. Using OLS, factor analysis and SEM, the direct and indirect effects of the European diet on the chance of a transition to democracy were tested. The findings reveal that an improvement in diet affects regime change, but not vice versa.
Keywords: diet, democracy, animal proteins, values
JEL Classification: I14, I15, Q18
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