Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2011

Document Type


First Advisor



Ethiopia is the second largest recipient of food aid in the world, with food provided to households via free aid and food-for-work from government and NGO programs. This study examines the determinants of food security in rural Ethiopian households, focusing particularly on food aid using unique panel from the Centre for the Study of African Economies. The data, covering 15 rural villages and 1477 households, were collected in four waves in 1994, 1995, 1997, and 1999. The analysis is cross sectional within each survey round with a rich set of controls for household and production characteristics. A fixed effects model using village variation as an instrument is used to estimate the effect of both short term, and long term, food aid on food security at the household level. Key findings are that while the amount of food aid received in the last year does not have significant effects on food security, participation in food for work might. Long term food aid can have a positive or no effect dependent on commodity type. Also, the persistence of aid, as measured by how many years the household has received aid, has a significant negative effect on food security. It may be the case that the longer a household has received aid the less likely it is to reinvest in its factors of production. An analysis of food aid targeting shows that the major determinant of allocation is measures of weight for height, but the majority of the variance in distribution is accounted for by national level targeting to village.