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A reassessment of the Global Food Security Index by using a hierarchical data envelopment analysis approach

Po-Chi Chen, Ming-Miin Yu, Jou-Chen Shih, Ching-Cheng Chang and Shih-Hsun Hsu

European Journal of Operational Research, 2019, vol. 272, issue 2, 687-698

Abstract: This study proposes a hierarchical data envelopment analysis (H-DEA) approach to construct a multi-dimensional indicator, and applies it to reassess the 2014 Global Food Security Index created by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) across 110 countries. Instead of using expert opinions to assign weights, the proposed model endogenises the weights, and thus avoids the problems of subjective weighting for international comparisons. The results show that although the ranking is not significantly different from that of the EIU, the optimal scores and weights differ by income levels. Additionally, this work articulates the value of a well-founded performance evaluation method by leveraging experts’ opinions and data-driven techniques through constructing a best-practice frontier with observation-specific weights. It is suggested that food availability should be the top policy priority in low- to medium-income and Sub-Saharan African countries where food deficits are most prevalent. The findings can serve as guidance to improve the design of the ongoing efforts for global food security.

Keywords: Data envelopment analysis; Food security; Food security index; Hierarchical DEA (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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