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Making Famine History

  • Cormac Ó Gráda

    (University College of Dublin)

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.ucd.ie/economics/research/papers/2006/WP06.10.pdf
File Function: First version, 2006
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Paper provided by School Of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 200610.

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Length: 75 pages
Date of creation: 10 Oct 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:200610
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Web page: http://www.ucd.ie/economics

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  1. Sherwin Rosen, 1997. "Potato Paradoxes," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 135, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  2. Francisco Rivera-Batiz, 2002. "Democracy, goverance and economic growth: Theory and evidence," Discussion Papers 0102-57, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  3. O Grada, Cormac, 1997. "Markets and famines: a simple test with Indian data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 241-244, December.
  4. Riskin, Carl, 1998. "Seven questions about the Chinese famine of 1959-1961," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 111-124.
  5. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521808187 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. 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.
  7. 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 136-58, January.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 1228-52, December.
  11. Guinnane, T.W. & O Grada, C., 2000. "The Workhouses and Irish Famine Mortality," Papers 00/10, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
  12. Gr da, Cormac & O'Rourke, Kevin H., 1997. "Migration as disaster relief: Lessons from the Great Irish Famine," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 3-25, April.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Dyson, Tim & O Grada, Cormac (ed.), 2002. "Famine Demography: Perspectives from the Past and Present," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199251919.
  17. Sen, Amartya, 2001. "Development as Freedom," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780192893307.
  18. Gorgens, Tue & Meng, Xin & Vaithianathan, Rhema, 2007. "Stunting and Selection Effects of Famine: A Case Study of the Great Chinese Famine," IZA Discussion Papers 2543, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
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