July 24, 2022

The Boko Haram Conflict and Food Insecurity: Does Resilience Capacity Matter?

Drawing from a robust identification strategy and household panel data collected before and after households were exposed to the Boko Haram conflict, this paper addresses the question of whether resilience capacity is an important factor in mitigating household risks of food insecurity due to conflict shocks. Using the non-parametric difference-in-differences framework, the paper identifies that the shocks negatively affect food security, but resilience capacity attenuates the effects. While resilience actively protects households from the adverse stressors, the paper observes that the pillars of resilience were also significantly decimated by the conflict, thereby weakening households’ long-run capacity to withstand future shocks. The results are prescriptively unchanged after adjusting the operating spatial distance of exposure or switching the measure of conflict exposure to conflict intensity represented as battle fatalities. These estimates align well with the various hypotheses of the resilience approach to sustainable development. It is, therefore, recommended that conflict intervention programs incorporate rebuilding resilience, which might help restore households’ ability to overcome future shocks.

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