A probabilistic approach to food security

David Zilberman, Yanhong Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose - We introduce a risk management framework to assess food security, which is interpreted as the probability of fatality or adverse health effects due to lack of food and which is a product of food availability, access, and vulnerability. Methodology/approach - We derive cost-minimizing policies to achieve food security objectives by addressing availability, access, and vulnerability, and taking into account how randomness, uncertainty, and heterogeneity affect the system. Findings - Ignoring key sources of variability, particularly heterogeneity, may lead to biases because food security policies require targeting the most vulnerable populations, which may each have unique features such as age, location, and health status. Establishing any policy solution requires making tough choices about policy criteria. Outcomes will differ when the criteria is to minimize overall risk or to minimize risk to the most vulnerable. Social implications - Policies addressing food security crises should balance enhanced supply with targeting available food and the provision of emergency health services to vulnerable populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-53
Number of pages21
JournalFrontiers of Economics and Globalization
StatePublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


  • Food security
  • Heterogeneity
  • Probability
  • Randomness
  • Risk management
  • Uncertainty


Dive into the research topics of 'A probabilistic approach to food security'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this