The effects of violent conflict on household resilience and food security: Evidence from the 2014 Gaza conflict

This paper studies how conflict affects household resilience capacity and food security, drawing on panel data collected from households in Palestine before and after the 2014 Gaza conflict. During this escalation of violence, the majority of the damages in the Gaza Strip were concentrated close to the Israeli border. Using the distance to the Israeli border to identify the effect of the conflict at the household level through an instrumental variable approach, we find that the food security of households in the Gaza Strip was not directly affected by the conflict. However, household resilience capacity that is necessary to resist food insecurity declined among Gazan households as a result of the conflict. This was mainly due to a reduction of adaptive capacity, driven by the deterioration of income stability and income diversification. However, the conflict actually increased the use of social safety nets (expressed in the form of cash, in-kind or other transfers that were received by the households) and access to basic services (mainly access to sanitation) for the households exposed to the conflict. This finding may be related to the support provided to households in the Gaza Strip by national and international organizations after the end of the conflict. From a policy perspective, the case of the conflict in the Gaza Strip demonstrates that immediate and significant support to victims of conflict can indeed help restore resilience capacity.

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