NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Long-Term Effects Of The 1959-1961 China Famine: Mainland China and Hong Kong

Douglas Almond, Lena Edlund, Hongbin Li, Junsen Zhang

NBER Working Paper No. 13384
Issued in September 2007
NBER Program(s):   AG   CH   HE

This paper estimates the effects of maternal malnutrition exploiting the 1959-1961 Chinese famine as a natural experiment. In the 1% sample of the 2000 Chinese Census, we find that fetal exposure to acute maternal malnutrition had compromised a range of socioeconomic outcomes, including: literacy, labor market status, wealth and marriage market outcomes. Women married spouses with less education and later, as did men, if at all. In addition, maternal malnutrition reduced the sex ratio (males to females) in two generations -- those prenatally exposed and their children -- presumably through heightened male mortality. This tendency toward female offspring is interpretable in light of the Trivers-Willard (1973) hypothesis, according to which parents in poor condition should skew the offspring sex ratio toward daughters. Hong Kong natality micro data from 1984-2004 further confirm this pattern of female offspring among mainland-born residents exposed to malnutrition in utero.

download in pdf format
   (967 K)

email paper

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

This paper is available as PDF (967 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w13384

Published: Ito, Takatoshi and Andrew K. Rose (eds.) The Economic Consequences of Demographic Change in East Asia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Meng and Qian w14917 The Long Term Consequences of Famine on Survivors: Evidence from a Unique Natural Experiment using China's Great Famine
Almond, Edlund, Li, and Zhang Long-Term Effects of Early-Life Development: Evidence from the 1959 to 1961 China Famine
Meng, Qian, and Yared w16361 The Institutional Causes of China's Great Famine, 1959-61
Almond and Currie w15827 Human Capital Development Before Age Five
Almond and Mazumder w14428 Health Capital and the Prenatal Environment: The Effect of Maternal Fasting During Pregnancy
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us