Portal de apoyo a las políticas y la gobernanza

Issue paper

Role of income inequality in shaping outcomes on individual food insecurity. Background paper for The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 - FAO Agricultural Development Economics Working Paper 19-06

Despite relatively high economic growth rates in many developing countries in the last two decades, income inequality has remained high and even increased. This has important policy implications as high-income inequality undercuts the benefits of economic growth in reducing food insecurity.

This paper uses the 2014 Gallup World Poll (GWP) dataset of individual food insecurity based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) and employs a three-level linear probability model to assess the macro-economic effects of economic growth and income inequality on individual food insecurity. Results show that increases in the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita are concurrent with declines in individual food insecurity. However, income inequality increases the likelihood of food insecurity, and where there is economic growth it undercuts the positive effect of economic growth on individual food security. The findings suggest that by tackling income inequality, economic growth can become a force for reducing food insecurity, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

This paper was prepared as background paper for The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019