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Making Famine History

  • Cormac Ó Gráda

This paper reviews recent contributions to the economics and economic history of famine. It provides a context for the history of famine in the twentieth century, which is unique. During the century, war and totalitarianism produced more famine deaths than did overpopulation and economic backwardness; yet by its end, economic growth and medical technology had almost eliminated the threat of major famines. Today's high-profile famines are "small" by historical standards. Topics analyzed include the role played by food markets in mitigating or exacerbating famine, the globalization of disaster relief, the enhanced role of human agency and entitlements, distinctive demography of certain twentieth-century famines, and future prospects for "making famine history."

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jel.45.1.5
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Literature.

Volume (Year): 45 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 5-38

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:45:y:2007:i:1:p:5-38
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.45.1.5
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  1. Ggens, Tue & Meng, Xin & Vaithianathan, Rhema, 2010. "Stunting and Selection Effects of Famine: A Case Study of the Great Chinese Famine," CEI Working Paper Series 2010-2, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  2. Guinnane, T.W. & O Grada, C., 2000. "The Workhouses and Irish Famine Mortality," Papers 00/10, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
  3. Gerard J. van den Berg & Maarten Lindeboom & France Portrait, 2006. "Economic Conditions Early in Life and Individual Mortality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 290-302, March.
  4. Wei Li & Dennis Tao Yang, 2005. "The Great Leap Forward: Anatomy of a Central Planning Disaster," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 840-877, August.
  5. Rivera-Batiz, Francisco L, 2002. "Democracy, Governance, and Economic Growth: Theory and Evidence," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(2), pages 225-47, June.
  6. Sen, Amartya, 2001. "Development as Freedom," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780192893307, March.
  7. repec:ucn:oapubs:10197/431 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Justin Yifu Lin & Yang, Dennis, 1995. "Food Availability, Entitlement and the Chinese Famine of 1959-61," Working Papers 95-24, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  9. repec:ucn:oapubs:10197/368 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Mokyr, Joel & Gr Da, Cormac, 2002. "What do people die of during famines: the Great Irish Famine in comparative perspective," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(03), pages 339-363, December.
  11. Houser, Daniel & Sands, Barbara & Xiao, Erte, 2009. "Three parts natural, seven parts man-made: Bayesian analysis of China's Great Leap Forward demographic disaster," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 148-159, February.
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  13. Riskin, Carl, 1998. "Seven questions about the Chinese famine of 1959-1961," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 111-124.
  14. Sherwin Rosen, 1999. "Potato Paradoxes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S294-S313, December.
  15. Pat McGregor, 2004. "“Insufficient for the Support of a Family” - Wages on the Public Works During the Great Irish Famine," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 35(2), pages 219–239.
  16. Mitchel Y. Abolafia (ed.), 2005. "Markets," Books, Edward Elgar, number 2788, July.
  17. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521808187 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Shujie Yao, 1999. "A Note on the Causal Factors of China's Famine in 1959-1961," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1365-1372, December.
  19. O Grada, Cormac, 2001. "Markets and Famines: Evidence from Nineteenth-Century Finland," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(3), pages 575-90, April.
  20. Dyson, Tim & O Grada, Cormac (ed.), 2002. "Famine Demography: Perspectives from the Past and Present," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199251919, March.
  21. O Grada, Cormac, 1997. "Markets and famines: a simple test with Indian data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 241-244, December.
  22. Justin Yifu Lin, 1990. "Collectivization and China's Agricultural Crisis in 1959-1961," UCLA Economics Working Papers 579, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  24. O'Gráda, Cormac & O'Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj, 1996. "Migration as Disaster Relief: Lessons from the Great Irish Famine," CEPR Discussion Papers 1462, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Shiue, Carol H., 2004. "Local Granaries and Central Government Disaster Relief: Moral Hazard and Intergovernmental Finance in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century China," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(01), pages 100-124, March.
  26. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1992. "Workfare versus Welfare Incentive Arguments for Work Requirements in Poverty-Alleviation Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 249-61, March.
  27. Gr da, Cormac & Chevet, Jean-Michel, 2002. "Famine And Market In Ancien R Gime France," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(03), pages 706-733, September.
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