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A Test of the New Variant Famine Hypothesis: Panel Survey Evidence from Zambia

Nicole Mason, Thomas Jayne (), Antony Chapoto () and Robert Myers ()

World Development, 2010, vol. 38, issue 3, 356-368

Abstract: Summary The new variant famine (NVF) hypothesis postulates that HIV/AIDS is eroding rural livelihoods and making agrarian communities more sensitive and less resilient to drought and other shocks. NVF has become a high profile but controversial part of the literature on HIV/AIDS and food crises, in part because it has not been subjected to detailed empirical testing. In this paper, an econometric analysis using panel data from Zambia indicates that increases in district-level HIV prevalence rates over the period 1991/92 to 2004/05 have had variable but generally negative impacts on agricultural production. NVF-type outcomes, defined narrowly as negative interactions between HIV/AIDS and drought, are more evident in areas of low rainfall, high land-to-labor ratios, and high HIV prevalence levels. These findings provide guarded support for the NVF hypothesis.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS; food; security; rural; livelihoods; new; variant; famine; hypothesis; Zambia; Africa (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010
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