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Giovanni Andrea Cornia

Former Chief of Unit

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This study presents an econometric model to estimate changes in the under-five mortality rate in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa over the years 1995-2007. The discussion centres on models with different specifications, and on the results obtained after testing several of them. The paper argues that initial models adopted to forecast the potential impact of the food and financial crisis overestimated the increase in mortality. However, the more complex tool presented in this study proves that under-five mortality rates have indeed increased (or declined less than predicted) due to the food and financial crises. The estimates provide signposts for remedies to protect children and their families when new shocks arrive.


Giovanni Andrea Cornia; Stefano Rosignoli; Luca Tiberti

Severe food crises were common until the middle 1980s. Since then, they have been less frequent and until the sharp rise of food prices in 2007-8 the dominant perception was that, except in areas suffering from political instability, famines were slowly becoming a problem of the past. Niger’s 2005 events suggest it is too soon to claim victory. Indeed, between March and August 2005 the country was hit by a doubling of millet prices, and a sharp rise in the number of severely malnourished children admitted to feeding centres. This study concludes that the decline in food production invoked by many to explain the crisis does not help comprehending a complex crisis that can only be understood by examining the entitlement failures of several socio-economic groups, the malfunctioning of domestic and regional food markets, and policy mistakes in the fields of food security, health financing, and international aid.


Giovanni Andrea Cornia; Laura Deotti