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The 1947 Soviet Famine and the Entitlement Approach to Famines

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  • Ellman, Michael

Abstract

This paper presents an analysis of the economics of the 1947 Soviet famine, using data from recently declassified archives. It is argued that the best estimate that can currently be given of the number of excess deaths in the range 1.0-1.5 million. The demographic loss was greater. During the famine, surplus stocks in the hands of the state seem to have been sufficient to have fed all those who died of starvation. The famine was a FAD2 (preventable food availability decline) famine, which occurred because a drought caused a bad harvest and hence reduced food availability, but, had the priorities of the government been different, there might have been no famine (or a much smaller one) despite the drought. The selection of victims can be understood in terms of the entitlement approach. Copyright 2000 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Ellman, Michael, 2000. "The 1947 Soviet Famine and the Entitlement Approach to Famines," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(5), pages 603-630, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:24:y:2000:i:5:p:603-30
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    Cited by:

    1. Polterovich, Victor & Popov, Vladimir, 2007. "Democratization, Quality of Institutions and Economic Growth," MPRA Paper 19152, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Polterovich, Victor & Popov, Vladimir, 2005. "Democracy and Growth Reconsidered: Why Economic Performance of New Democracies is not Encouraging," MPRA Paper 21606, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Matthieu CLEMENT (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113), 2009. "Amartya Sen’s socio-economic analysis of famines: scope, limitations and extensions (In French)," Cahiers du GREThA 2009-25, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    4. Polterovich, Victor & Popov, Vladimir, 2007. "Демократизация И Экономический Рост
      [Democratization and Economic Growth]
      ," MPRA Paper 23012, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Cormac Ó Gráda, 2013. "Eating People is Wrong: Famine’s Darkest Secret?," Working Papers 201302, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    6. Matthieu CLEMENT (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113), 2010. "Food Availability and Food Entitlements during the Chinese Great Leap Forward Famine: A dynamic panel data analysis (In French)," Cahiers du GREThA 2010-03, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.

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