Bolstering food security through agricultural policies: cross‐country evidence

Ivica Petrikova (Department of Political Science, University College London, London, UK)

International Journal of Development Issues

ISSN: 1446-8956

Publication date: 28 June 2013



The objective of this paper is to contribute to the existing literature by examining which combination of three important agricultural policies – land distribution, domestic food production, and trade liberalization – is most conducive to improving food security in developing countries.


This study uses panel‐data analysis of 58 developing countries between 1990 and 2009, employing OLS, GMM and 2SLS estimators.


The paper finds that more equal land distribution, higher domestic food production, and a greater degree of trade openness impact food security positively.

Research limitations/implications

Due to limited data on land distribution, the study analyzes data for 58 developing countries only. The fact that this sample is not statistically different from all developing countries, however, bolsters the validity of drawing generalized inferences about all developing countries based on the findings obtained. Another limitation rests with the paper's attempt at examining the effect of the three policies' joint impact on food security through the use of interactive terms, which should be developed further in future research.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that improving land distribution through land reforms, augmenting the level of domestic food production at the expense of non‐consumable crops, and liberalizing trade in a regulated manner could help developing countries bolster food security.


The paper presents a novel contribution to existing literature, both because it is one of the first to use empirical cross‐country analysis in the field of global food security and agricultural policy studies and the first to evaluate the conjoint effect of the three agricultural policy decisions on food security.



Petrikova, I. (2013), "Bolstering food security through agricultural policies: cross‐country evidence", International Journal of Development Issues, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 92-109.

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