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Quantitative Assessment of Political Fragility Indices and Food Prices as Indicators of Food Riots in Countries
Davide Natalini 1,*,†,
Aled Wynne Jones 1,† and
Giangiacomo Bravo 2,†
Global Sustainability Institute, Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge CB1-1PT, UK
Department of Social Studies, Linnaeus University, Universitetsplatsen 1, 35195Växjö, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Sustainability 2015, 7(4), 4360-4385;
Received: 15 October 2014 / Revised: 9 March 2015 / Accepted: 1 April 2015 / Published: 14 April 2015
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The impact of resources on social unrest is of increasing interest to political leaders, business and civil society. Recent events have highlighted that (lack of) access to critical resources, including food, energy and water, can, in certain circumstances, lead to violent demonstrations. In this paper, we assess a number of political fragility indices to see whether they are good indicators of propensity to food riots. We found that the most accurate is the Political Instability and Absence of Violence Indicator of the Worldwide Governance Indicators by the World Bank. We compute a likelihood of experiencing a food riot for each quartile of this index. We found that the self-sufficiency of food does not seem to affect the likelihood of the occurrence of food riots, but that the level of political stability of a country does have a role. In addition, we identify a monthly and annual threshold for the Food and Agriculture Organisation Food Price Index, above which food riots in fragile states are more likely to occur. View Full-Text
Keywords: food riots; national fragility; food price threshold; state weakness; political fragility; resource conflict
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