Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Stanley R. Johnson

Second Advisor

Dermot J. Hayes


World food production is growing at a faster rate than population growth and capita food energy has increased in developing countries. However, approximately 800 million people in the developing world still do not have access to sufficient food for an adequate diet. An additional quarter of a billion people periodically face food inaccessibility due to weather, instability in prices and employment, drought, diseases and civil strife, Furthermore, the distribution of food is uneven around the world.;There have been a number of theses advanced on why millions of people around the world go hungry including poverty, rapid population and urban growth, uneven distribution of food, inadequate domestic agricultural production, trade barriers and inappropriate macroeconomic policies leading to negative or slow economic growth. However, an important factor that has not been investigated is the relationship between food insecurity and the political institutions in developing countries.;The objective of this study is to better understand the sources of food security problems in developing countries and to explore empirically the strength of selected factors in explaining the underlying reasons for food security problems. The study provides an empirical analysis of the causes of chronic food insecurity including the much ignored political, civil and economic freedoms. A cross-sectional econometric model is used with data from 153 developed and developing countries for the period 1995.;The empirical analysis assesses the relative importance of the factors hypothesized to explain the differences among countries for a widely used indicator of food insecurity. The indicator of food insecurity, per capita dietary energy supply, is regressed on selected economic variables including measures of political rights and civil liberties, and economic freedom. The results show that political rights and civil liberties impact food security in developing countries indirectly through income. Countries that enjoy political and civil freedoms tend to enjoy higher incomes and in turn, are more food-secure than countries where these freedoms are repressed. These results suggest that the institutions of developing countries, which underlie these rights or freedoms, are critical in the design of interventions to alleviate poverty and therefore, food insecurity.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Amani El Tayeb El Obeid



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

107 pages

Included in

Economics Commons