by Audrey Sacks and Margaret Levi
The authors introduce a method for measuring effective government and modeling its consequences for social welfare at the individual level. They focus on the experiences of citizens living in African countries where famine remains a serious threat. If a government is effective, it will be able to deliver goods that individuals need to improve their social welfare. At a minimum, effective governments facilitate reliable access to food for its citizens. The authors assess this conception of effective government via a multi-level model from 17 sub-Saharan countries sampled in 2005 by Afrobarometer. We find that citizens who live in regions and in countries with a civil bureaucracy, reliable law enforcement and good infrastructure enjoy higher levels of food security than those who live in regions with weaker institutional penetration.