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20 October 2014

Feeding Unrest

Todd Smith's article on the relationship between food price shocks and sociopolitical conflict in urban Africa appears in the November 2014 issue of the Journal of Peace Research. In his article titled Feeding Unrest, Todd explores whether there is a connection between rising domestic consumer food prices and sociopolitical unrest by using data from the Social Conflict in Africa Database (SCAD).

He analyzes the relationship between rising food prices and unrest by using country fixed effects at the country-month unit of analysis with data from 1990 to 2012. Todd's main finding based on this analysis is that "a sudden increase in domestic food prices in a given month significantly increases the probability of urban unrest, especially spontaneous events and riots, in that month." He argues that "the findings of this research provide evidence that sociopolitical unrest of different types is driven, or at least triggered, by a consumer response to economic pressure from increasing food prices regardless of the cause of the increase."

Todd Smith is a PhD student at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

His article in the Journal of Peace Research is available here

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