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Famine mortality, rational political inactivity, and international food aid

Plümper, Thomas and Neumayer, Eric ORCID: 0000-0003-2719-7563 (2009) Famine mortality, rational political inactivity, and international food aid. World Development, 37 (1). pp. 50-61. ISSN 0305-750X

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2008.05.005


Famine mortality is preventable by government action and yet some famines kill. We develop a political theory of famine mortality based on the selectorate theory of Bueno de Mesquita et al. (2002, 2003). We argue that it can be politically rational for a government, democratic or not, to remain inactive in the face of severe famine threat. We derive the testable hypotheses that famine mortality is possible in democracies, but likely to be lower than in autocracies. Moreover, a larger share of people being affected by famine relative to population size together with large quantities of international food aid being available will lower mortality in both regime types, but more so in democracies.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2008 Elsevier
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2008 11:14
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2024 07:21

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