Measuring the commitment to reduce hunger: a hunger reduction commitment index hunger reduction commitment index

Measuring the commitment to reduce hunger: a hunger reduction commitment index hunger reduction commitment index

Can an index be constructed to assess governments’ commitment to reduce hunger? This paper argues for the need for such an index and outlines one way of constructing it. The authors use secondary data to construct the Hunger Reduction Commitment Index (HRCI) for 21 developing countries.

This paper operationalises commitment around 3 themes: legal frameworks, policies and programmes and government expenditures, to find Malawi, the Gambia, Guatemala, Brazil and Senegal heading the list, with China, Nepal, Lesotho, Zambia and Guinea Bissau coming bottom. Rankings were robust to our choices about weighting and ranking methods.

The paper demonstrates a viable method to measure political commitment and highlights the analytical importance of disentangling hunger commitment from hunger outcomes. Cross-tabulations of HRCI scores with hunger, wealth, administrative capacity and voice and accountability scores can guide action from different stakeholders (governments, civil society, donors). Finally, the authors show how primary data collection might be used to assess areas of strength and weakness in country specific commitments to reduce hunger.

Highlights:

  • the authors develop new methods to assess governments’ political commitment to reduce hunger

  • they construct indices of political commitment for 21 developing countries

  • Malawi tops HRCI country rankings.
  • disentangling hunger commitments from hunger outcomes sharply affects rankings