Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Un, Kheang

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


A solid agricultural foundation is required to build a strong industrial sector. However, how such a foundation can be established remains debated. This study addressed this question by examining the politics of state responses to the food crises in Indonesia and Nigeria. Despite the similar problem of food shortages faced by the two countries in the mid-1960s and early 1970s, respectively, why did they pursue divergent policy responses? Why did Indonesia implement rural-biased policies while Nigeria urban-biased ones to deal with the food crisis? What factor explains these different policy choices? And how did this factor affect the distributional outcome of state intervention in the two countries? Drawing on comparative historical method, this dissertation argues that the clue to answering these questions lays in the political configuration between the state and different elements of society.

Just like other economic policies, government responses to food crises are distributive. The policy response will affect the allocation of state resources between different social groups, especially food producers in rural areas and food consumers in urban areas. Understandably, the salient form of state-society conflicts, especially those involving farmers and urban workers, will determine how the state will respond to the food crises. This research finds that variation in state-society conflicts explains national variation in state responses to the food crises. While the rise of urban radicalism among workers led the Government of Nigeria to implement urban-oriented policies, the threat of rural disturbances led the Government of Indonesia to pursue rural-oriented ones to deal with the food crisis. Thus, rural development is a path-dependent process that is deeply influenced by the salient form of state-society conflicts, especially between the state and rural forces.


240 pages




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