The Political-Economic Causes of the Soviet Great Famine, 1932–33
This study constructs a large new dataset to investigate whether state policy led to ethnic Ukrainians experiencing higher mortality during the 1932–33 Soviet Great Famine. All else equal, famine (excess) mortality rates were positively associated with ethnic Ukrainian population share across provinces, as well as across districts within provinces. Ukrainian ethnicity, rather than the administrative boundaries of the Ukrainian republic, mattered for famine mortality. These and many additional results provide strong evidence that higher Ukrainian famine mortality was an outcome of policy, and suggestive evidence on the political-economic drivers of repression. A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that bias against Ukrainians explains up to 77% of famine deaths in the three republics of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus and up to 92% in Ukraine.
We are extremely grateful to Ekaterina Zhuravskaya for her generous support; and thank Daron Acemoglu, Maxim Ananyev, Paul Cata�eda Dower, Michael Ellman, Ruben Enikolopov, Jeff Frieden, Scott Gehlbach, Mikhail Golosov, Sergei Guriev, Mark Harrison, Oleg Khlevniuk, Alexey Makarin, Victor Malein, Joel Mokyr, Gerard Padro-i-Miquel, Steven Nafziger, Marco Tabellini, Chris Udry and Yuri Zhukov for their insights; the participants of the Trinity College Applied Economics Workshop, CERGE-EI Applied Economics Workshop, EIEF workshop, HECER (Helsinki Center of Economic Research) Labor and Public Economics seminar, 2020 Summer Workshop in the Economic History and Historical Political Economy of Russia, Northwestern Economic History Lunch, Northwestern Development Lunch, George Mason Economic History Lunch, the NBER Political Economy Workshop, the Ridge Conference, the ASSA/AEA On the Role of and Culture and Community 2020 session. For excellent research assistance, we thank Pavel Bacherikov, Nikita Karpov, Ivan Korolev, Kaman Lyu and Carlo Medici. All mistakes are our own. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
- Government policies motivated by ethnic bias can account for up to 92 percent of the deaths of ethnic Ukrainians living in Ukraine at...