Chapter

Long-Term Effects of Early-Life Development: Evidence from the 1959 to 1961 China Famine

Douglas Almond, Lena Edlund, Hongbin Li and Junsen Zhang

in The Economic Consequences of Demographic Change in East Asia

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780226386850
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226386881 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226386881.003.0010
Long-Term Effects of Early-Life Development: Evidence from the 1959 to 1961 China Famine

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This chapter provides persuasive evidence and examines the Chinese famine of 1959–1961 in relation to the “Great Leap Forward.” This famine was a natural experiment which is independent of education, labor market, and other such phenomena that might otherwise be confounding issues (i.e., it is plausibly exogenous). The chapter finds that those in gestation during the famine were disproportionately more often on leave from work in 2000, were supported disproportionately by other household members, and had smaller houses. They also had less human capital, were less likely to be married, were more disabled, were more likely to be female, and were less likely to work. Further, there is also an “echo effect” for subsequent generations. These strong and persuasive negative consequences are basically the same, independent of whether one relies on time-series or cross-sectional variation in the data set.

Keywords: evidence; Great Leap Forward; Chinese famine; echo effect; time-series variation

Chapter.  11854 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Business and Management

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