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Publication | 2021

The effect of bureaucratic corruption on household food insecurity: evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa

Corruption is a worldwide phenomenon, but the crisis seems to have no bounds in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the absurdity has penetrated and continues to impair the public service sector. As long as the anomaly continues, two outcomes are inevitable. First, an average member of the public runs the risk of paying more for any government service. Second, some or all resources earmarked for other essential needs might get sacrificed to pay for a needed public service. Such unforeseen adverse shocks could potentially increase the chances of wicked problems such as food insecurity. Consequently, this paper examined the welfare effect of bureaucratic corruption on households' ability to procure food in a safe and socially acceptable manner in sub-Saharan Africa using pooled Afrobarometer micro-level data from Rounds 5, 6, and 7 spanning 2011 to 2018. Estimates from logistic regression and the endogenous dummy variable regression that addressed the endogeneity of bureaucratic corruption in the food insecurity model revealed that bureaucratic corruption induced the experience of household food insecurity. Further analyses showed that some public entities have a more significant debilitating effect than others on household food security conditions. More importantly, any contact with government institutions causes household food security status to spiral downward. These results suggest that public institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa are weak and undoubtedly contribute to household food insecurity. Therefore, there is a need for a paradigm shift in how these entities serve the public or else a lasting solution to food insecurity might remain elusive in the region.