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Does unemployment affect the relationship between income inequality and food security?

Hazwan Haini (School of Business and Economics, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam)
Siti Fatimahwati Pehin Dato Musa (School of Business and Economics, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam)
Pang Wei Loon (School of Business and Economics, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam)
Khairul Hidayatullah Basir (Faculty of Agriculture, Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali, Gadong, Brunei Darussalam)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 31 January 2022

Issue publication date: 14 February 2023

1280

Abstract

Purpose

This study examines whether unemployment affects the relationship between income inequality and food security in 143 advanced and developing economies from 2000 to 2019. The authors specifically explore whether unemployment can weaken the negative impact of income inequality on food security.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors estimate a new and robust index of food security using a generalized least squares approach. The authors then employ the system generalized method of moments to estimate the model as it allows the authors to control for endogeneity and simultaneity. The authors estimate an interaction term to account for the moderating impact of unemployment.

Findings

The authors consistently find that income inequality has a negative and significant association with food security. However, the results differ between advance and developing economies. The authors find that unemployment rates have a negative relationship with food security in the sample of developing countries, where high levels of unemployment exacerbate the adverse effects of income inequality on food security. This is insignificant for advanced economies.

Research limitations/implications

The major limitation lies in the use of aggregated data, which overlooks the issue of food security at the household or individual level.

Practical implications

Policymakers in developing economies can ensure job security in order to lessen the adverse effects of income inequality on food security.

Originality/value

This study provides new empirical evidence on whether unemployment can potentially moderate and alleviate the impact of income inequality in advanced and developing economies.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the direction of the handling editor, Professor Colin Williams, and the suggestions provided by four anonymous referees.

Funding: The authors received no direct funding for this research.

Declaration of Conflicting Interests: No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors. The usual disclaimer applies.

Data Availability Statement: Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no new data were created or analyzed in this study.

Citation

Haini, H., Musa, S.F.P.D., Wei Loon, P. and Basir, K.H. (2023), "Does unemployment affect the relationship between income inequality and food security?", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 43 No. 1/2, pp. 48-66. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-12-2021-0303

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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