IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

China's Agricultural Crisis and Famine of 1959-61: A Survey and Comparison to Soviet Famines

  • Dennis Tao Yang

China?s Great Leap Forward (GLF) of 1958-61, a campaign of unprecedented mobilization efforts to achieve rapid industrialization, ended as a catastrophe. National grain production collapsed and a widespread famine claimed millions of human lives. This paper reviews a growing economic literature on this historical crisis. While multiple causes are hypothesized, empirical findings suggest that the collapse of grain production was primarily attributable to a systematic failure in central planning, involving the diversion of agricultural resources to industry and excessive grain procurements that precipitated malnutrition among peasants and decimation of labor productivity. The resulting decline in grain availability, as well as urban bias in China?s food distribution system, became the main culprits of the enormous famine. In light of the Chinese experience, this paper also explores the role of defective planning in the Soviet famines of 1931-3 and 1947.

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: ftp://repec.econ.vt.edu/Papers/Yang/Survey-CES-Yang-VT.pdf
Our checks indicate that this address may not be valid because: 500 Failed to connect to FTP server repec.econ.vt.edu: Net::FTP: connect: 10060. If this is indeed the case, please notify (Djavad Salehi-Isfahani)


File Function: First version, 2007
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number e07-4.

as
in new window

Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:vpi:wpaper:e07-4
Contact details of provider: Postal: 3016 Pamplin Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0316
Phone: 540-231-9636
Fax: 540-231-5097
Web page: http://www.econ.vt.edu

More information through EDIRC

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. Cormac Ó Gráda, 2006. "Making Famine History," Working Papers 200610, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  2. Sen, Amartya, 1983. "Development: Which Way Now?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 93(372), pages 742-62, December.
  3. 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.
  4. Gale Johnson, D., 1998. "China's great famine: Introductory remarks," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 103-109.
  5. 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.
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:vpi:wpaper:e07-4. 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: (Djavad Salehi-Isfahani)

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.