IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Estimating the Long-Term Impact of the Great Chinese Famine (1959–61) on Modern China

Listed author(s):
  • Gooch, Elizabeth

This research analyzes the long-term impact of the Great Chinese Famine (1959–61) on the modern Chinese economy, and shows that areas in which famine was most severe have significantly lower per capita GDP today. The Great Famine coincided with the Chinese Communist Party’s industrialization and agriculture modernization plan, the Great Leap Forward (GLF). To remove omitted variable and endogeneity problems, a unique relationship between the Communist army’s takeover of mainland China (1946–50) and the degree to which subnational leadership was willing to enforce GLF policies to the detriment of rural citizens’ well-being is exploited via instrumental variable (IV) estimation. Specifically, areas liberated later had a higher density of zealous administrators by the start of the GLF in 1958, and in turn experienced stricter enforcement of GLF policies which resulted in greater famine severity. As a result, this research finds a relatively pronounced impact of politically-triggered famine captured by the IV approach, which strengthens the growing outlook that famine is a consequence of inadequate food entitlement, as opposed to being simply food shortages.

If 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.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305750X15300486
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

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.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

Volume (Year): 89 (2017)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 140-151

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:89:y:2017:i:c:p:140-151
DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2016.08.006
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as
in new window


  1. Nathan Nunn, 2009. "The Importance of History for Economic Development," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 65-92, May.
  2. Manski, Charles F, 1990. "Nonparametric Bounds on Treatment Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 319-323, May.
  3. Elise Huillery, 2009. "History Matters: The Long-Term Impact of Colonial Public Investments in French West Africa," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 176-215, April.
  4. Nathan Nunn, 2008. "The Long-term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 139-176.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  6. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2005. "History, Institutions, and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1190-1213, September.
  7. repec:oup:revage:v:28:y:2006:i:3:p:296-304. is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Holz, Carsten A., 2014. "The quality of China's GDP statistics," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 309-338.
  9. Kung, James Kai-sing & Lin, Justin Yifu, 2003. "The Causes of China's Great Leap Famine, 1959-1961," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(1), pages 51-73, October.
  10. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Hongbin Li & Junsen Zhang, 2010. "Long-Term Effects of Early-Life Development: Evidence from the 1959 to 1961 China Famine," NBER Chapters,in: The Economic Consequences of Demographic Change in East Asia, NBER-EASE Volume 19, pages 321-345 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Guido Alfani, 2013. "Plague in seventeenth-century Europe and the decline of Italy: an epidemiological hypothesis," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(4), pages 408-430, November.
  12. Jones, Philip P. & Poleman, Thomas T., 1962. "Communes and the Agricultural Crisis in Communist China," Food Research Institute Studies, Stanford University, Food Research Institute, issue 01.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Zhehui Luo & Ren Mu & Xiaobo Zhang, 2006. "Famine and Overweight in China," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 28(3), pages 296-304.
  16. Yuan Liu & James G. Wen & Xiahai Wei, 2014. "Communal dining system and the puzzle of the Great Leap Famine: Re-examine the causality between communal dining and the famine," China Agricultural Economic Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 6(4), pages 698-716, October.
  17. Lin, Justin Yifu, 1990. "Collectivization and China's Agricultural Crisis in 1959-1961," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1228-1252, December.
  18. Chang, Gene Hsin & Wen, Guanzhong James, 1997. "Communal Dining and the Chinese Famine of 1958-1961," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(1), pages 1-34, October.
  19. SHI, Xinzheng, 2011. "Famine, fertility, and fortune in china," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 244-259, June.
  20. Nico Voigtlander & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2009. "Malthusian Dynamism and the Rise of Europe: Make War, Not Love," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 248-254, May.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Chang, Gene Hsin & Wen, Guanzhong James, 1998. "Food availability versus consumption efficiency: causes of the Chinese famine," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 157-165.
  24. Riskin, Carl, 1998. "Seven questions about the Chinese famine of 1959-1961," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 111-124.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:89:y:2017:i:c:p:140-151. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.