China's Great Leap: Forward or Backward? Anatomy of a Central Planning Disaster
AbstractThe Great Leap Forward (GLF) disaster, characterized by a collapse of grain output, and the associated famine in China between 1959 and 1961, can be attributed to a systemic failure in central planning. Encouraged by unrealistic expectations for agricultural productivity gains from collectivization, the government switched to an accelerated and infeasible timetable for industrialization. Consequently, it diverted massive amounts of agricultural resources to industry and imposed excessive grain procurement burdens on peasants, leaving them with insufficient food to sustain labour productivity. Grain output fell sharply at the onset of these policies and started to recover gradually when the policies were reversed. Official data and our supplementary survey data support the theoretical prediction regarding the dynamic progression of the disaster. They also show that over 80% of the decline in grain output is attributable to the policies of excessive procurement and resource diversion.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2824.
Date of creation: Jun 2001
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- O14 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
- Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Lin, Justin Yifu & Yang, Dennis Tao, 1998. "On the causes of China's agricultural crisis and the great leap famine," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 125-140.
- Behrman, Jere R. & Foster, Andrew D. & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1997.
"The dynamics of agricultural production and the calorie-income relationship: Evidence from Pakistan,"
Journal of Econometrics,
Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 187-207, March.
- Jere Behrman & Mark Rosenzweig & Andrew D. Foster, . "The Dynamics of Agricultural Production and the Calorie-Income Relationship: Evidence from Pakistan," Home Pages _069, University of Pennsylvania.
- Strauss, J. & Thomas, D., 1995. "Empirical Modeling of Household and Family Decisions," Papers 95-12, RAND - Reprint Series.
- Putterman Louis & Skillman Gilbert L., 1993. "Collectivization and China's Agricultural Crisis," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 530-539, June.
- Dasgupta, Partha, 1997. "Nutritional status, the capacity for work, and poverty traps," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 5-37, March.
- Ravallion, Martin, 1996.
"Famines and economics,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
1693, The World Bank.
- Strauss, John & Thomas, Duncan, 1995. "Human resources: Empirical modeling of household and family decisions," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 34, pages 1883-2023 Elsevier.
- MacLeod W. Bentley, 1993. "The Role of Exit Costs in the Theory of Cooperative Teams: A Theoretical Perspective," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 521-529, June.
- Sherwin Rosen, 1999.
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S294-S313, December.
- Sherwin Rosen, 1997. "Potato Paradoxes," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 135, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- Chen, Yuyu & Zhou, Li-An, 2007. "The long-term health and economic consequences of the 1959-1961 famine in China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 659-681, July.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.