Munich Personal RePEc Archive

State legitimacy and famines in Sub-Saharan Africa

Sutter, Camille (2011): State legitimacy and famines in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Abstract

Political Economy of famines mainly focuses on political regimes to understand the role of institutions. In this paper, we investigate a broader concept, state legitimacy, and its role on one specific development outcome, famine management. State legitimacy refers to the political history of a country, meaning the embedding of state and society. Using a database of Sub-Saharan countries observed from 1980 to 2005, we use three empirical strategies: logit on famine occurrence, negative binomial regression and Arellano-Bond dynamic model on the number of years of famines. They all lead to the same results: there is room for a political economy of famine based on an analysis of state. State legitimacy prevents famines, controlling for shocks countries might go through, and controlling for the quality of government.

The main contributions of this paper are first to consider the role of state legitimacy in the political economy of famines and second to apply the concept in an empirical analysis, using for the first time a state legitimacy variable.

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