China's Agricultural Crisis and Famine of 1959-61: A Survey and Comparison to Soviet Famines
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.
|Date of creation:||2007|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.econ.vt.edu
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Cormac Ó Gráda, 2006.
"Making Famine History,"
200610, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
- Sen, Amartya, 1983. "Development: Which Way Now?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 93(372), pages 742-62, December.
- 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.
- Gale Johnson, D., 1998. "China's great famine: Introductory remarks," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 103-109.
- 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.
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.