The long-term health and economic consequences of the 1959-1961 famine in China

J Health Econ. 2007 Jul 1;26(4):659-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2006.12.006. Epub 2007 Jan 11.


This paper, using a difference-in-differences method, tries to quantify the long-term effects of China's 1959-1961 famine on the health and economic status of the survivors. We find that the great famine caused serious health and economic consequences for the survivors, especially for those in early childhood during the famine. Our estimates show that on average, in the absence of the famine, individuals of the 1959 birth cohort would have otherwise grown 3.03 cm taller in adulthood. The famine also greatly impacted the labor supply and earnings of the survivors with famine exposure during their early childhood.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • China
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Social Class*
  • Starvation / history*
  • Survival
  • Time Factors