Book Chapter
Modelling an Early Warning System for Famines

There exists a general consensus for the need of ‘early warning systems’ for policy makers' prompt response to impending famines. But since famines occur for a variety of reasons and a famine's influence on the economic system is varied, a formal early warning is difficult. This chapter argues that famines develop from initial shocks and the underlying dynamic process can help to devise an early warning system. Past data on famine-prone regions can be used as a basis to build appropriate warning systems. An early warning system should be accompanied by a policy response system that considers factors such as institutional structure, national and international politics, and the recent history of the area.