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Did Food Insecurity rise across Europe after the 2008 Crisis? An analysis across welfare regimes

  • Owen Davis (a1) and Ben Baumberg Geiger (a2)

Since the 2008 crisis, there has been a sharp rise in demand for food aid across high-income countries, spurring increased academic interest in the issue of food insecurity. Despite this heightened interest, there remains a paucity of quantitative evidence on trends in the prevalence of food insecurity in rich countries. In this context, the following article presents ‘direct’ evidence on recent patterns of food insecurity across countries and welfare regimes using secondary analysis of the European Quality of Life Survey. It uses an item which has been a longstanding component of deprivation scales, ‘could your household afford a meal with meat, chicken or fish every second day if you wanted it?’, to investigate two hypotheses. First, we explore whether food insecurity has risen since the 2008 crisis as the rise in food aid suggests. Second, we examine if this rise has varied across welfare regimes, if it has occurred at all. The article finds evidence to support both contentions: food insecurity has risen across many European countries and has varied by welfare regime. It also finds that contrary to expectations, the sharpest rise was in the Anglo-Saxon countries of Ireland and the UK, rather than Southern or Eastern European countries.

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