Household resilience to food security shocks

Isaac Gershon Kodwo Ansah

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Resilience is now considered as a core concept for addressing the negative effects of shocks on household food security. However, a major barrier to achieving this is that resilience is unobserved and multi-dimensional, which means conceptualizing and empirically assessing it is difficult. This thesis combines literature review and empirical approaches to analyze the nexus between resilience, shocks and household food security.

First, existing conceptual and analytical frameworks for assessing resilience and household food security are assessed through a systematic literature review. Results indicate that researchers diverge on conceptual and empirical frameworks for assessing food security resilience, and that multiple shocks received less attention. Second, the nexus between multiple shocks, coping strategy choices and household food security are examined with a baseline data from the Africa RISING project and discrete choice analysis augmented with linear regression models. Results show that coping with multiple shocks often requires different strategies than coping with single shocks. Households tend to deplete assets such as livestock and crop buffer stocks when they cope with negative effects of multiple shocks.

Third, the effects of resilience-building strategies on food demand sensitivity to price and income shocks are explored using data from the Ghana Living Standards Survey estimated via a quadratic almost ideal demand system. The results show that resilience-building strategies have heterogeneous effects on the sensitivity of household food demand to price and income shocks. Increasing levels of household assets or livestock decrease demand sensitivity of protein foods such as dairy, meat and fish as well as of vegetables and fruits, to income shocks for poor households. Increases in crop stocks are associated with lower demand sensitivity of staples and pulses to income shocks for rural and non-poor households.

Fourth, policies for enhancing resilience capacities of households are assessed through simulation. Results show that a policy instrument that simultaneously increases household assets, livestock and crop stocks help to counterbalance the negative effects of shocks and stimulates demand for all food items for non-poor households except staples. On the other hand, a pro-poor policy that targets increasing poor households’ assets, livestock or crop stocks is more beneficial to them and stimulates their demand for protein foods, staples and miscellaneous foods.  Based on the overall results of the thesis, it is suggested that household resilience to food security shocks can be boosted, leading to a more stable food demand if measures are instituted to help develop or enhance household assets, livestock and crop stocks.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Gardebroek, Koos, Promotor
  • Ihle, Rico, Promotor
  • Donkoh, S.A., Co-promotor, External person
Award date14 Jun 2021
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789463956888
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2021


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