Welfare State Spending, Income Inequality and Food Insecurity in Affluent Nations: A Cross‐National Examination of OECD Countries

Md Belal Hossain, Michael A. Long*, Paul B. Stretesky

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Few studies examine the distribution of food insecurity in advanced capitalist nations. This research investigates cross-national food insecurity in the world’s largest economies by estimating the impact of welfare spending and income inequality on food availability (measured by the FAO’s Dietary Energy and Protein Supply indicators) and food accessibility (measured by the Food Insecurity Experience Scale) in 36 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries between the years of 2000 and 2018. Using a series of regression models on panel and cross-sectional data this research found that increases in state spending on social and health care are associated with (1) increases in food availability and (2) increases in food access. However, the findings also suggest that increases in food supplies do not produce more food security. Thus, for the OECD countries in this analysis, food availability is unrelated to food accessibility. We conclude by suggesting that high income countries that seek to promote global health should not only focus their efforts on poverty reduction polices that increase food accessibility within their own boarders, but must simultaneously ensure a more equitable global distribution of food.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere324
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalSustainability
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020

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