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Making Famine History

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  • Cormac Ó Gráda

Abstract

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."

Suggested Citation

  • Cormac Ó Gráda, 2007. "Making Famine History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(1), pages 5-38, March.
  • 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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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Markets versus Government Regulation: What are the Tail Risks? by Mark Harrison
      by Mark Harrison in Mark Harrison's blog on 2012-10-15 16:22:31

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    Cited by:

    1. Carleton Schade & David Pimentel, 2010. "Population crash: prospects for famine in the twenty-first century," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 245-262, April.
    2. Burgess, Robin & Donaldson, Dave, 2012. "Can openness to trade reduce income volatility? Evidence from colonial India's famine era," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 54255, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Gørgens, Tue & Meng, Xin & Vaithianathan, Rhema, 2012. "Stunting and selection effects of famine: A case study of the Great Chinese Famine," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 99-111.
    4. Stefan Dercon & Catherine Porter, 2014. "Live Aid Revisited: Long-Term Impacts Of The 1984 Ethiopian Famine On Children," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 927-948, August.
    5. Stefan Dercon & Catherine Porter, 2014. "Live Aid Revisited: Long-Term Impacts Of The 1984 Ethiopian Famine On Children," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 927-948, 08.

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