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Famines and Economics

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  • Martin Ravallion

Abstract

Famines have happened with and without crop failures or wars. But they invariably entail a collapse in the command over food of vulnerable subgroups within a society, whether through loss of endowment or a contraction in the amount of food that can be acquired from given endowments. Thus economic analysis can help understand famines, viewed as tragic aperiodic magnifications of normal market and governmental failures. Recent literature in economics and other fields has reflected this change in the conceptualization of famines, and it has come with policy implications for famine relieve and prevention.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Ravallion, 1997. "Famines and Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1205-1242, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:35:y:1997:i:3:p:1205-1242
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin Ravallion & Gaurav Datt, 1995. "Is Targeting Through a Work Requirement Efficient? Some Evidence for Rural India," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-41, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    2. Coate, Stephen, 1989. "Cash versus direct food relief," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 199-224, April.
    3. Binswanger, Hans P. & Khandker, Shahidur R. & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1993. "How infrastructure and financial institutions affect agricultural output and investment in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 337-366, August.
    4. Bidani, Benu & Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Decomposing social indicators using distributional data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 125-139, March.
    5. Foster, Andrew D, 1995. "Prices, Credit Markets and Child Growth in Low-Income Rural Areas," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 551-570, May.
    6. Lin, Justin Yifu & Yang, Dennis Tao, 2000. "Food Availability, Entitlements and the Chinese Famine of 1959-61," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(460), pages 136-158, January.
    7. Glomm, Gerhard & Palumbo, Michael G., 1993. "Optimal intertemporal consumption decisions under the threat of starvation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 271-291, December.
    8. Webb, Patrick & von Braun, Joachim & Yohannes, Yisehac, 1992. "Famine in Ethiopia: policy implications of coping failure at national and household levels," Research reports 92, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1998. "Why Have Some Indian States Done Better Than Others at Reducing Rural Poverty?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 17-38, February.
    10. Alderman, Harold, 1996. "Saving and economic shocks in rural Pakistan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 343-365, December.
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