Long-Term Effects of the 1959-1961 China Famine: Mainland China and Hong Kong

39 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2007 Last revised: 29 Jul 2010

See all articles by Douglas Almond

Douglas Almond

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Lena Edlund

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics

Hongbin Li

Chinese University of Hong Kong - Department of Economics

Junsen Zhang

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: September 2007

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Almond, Douglas Vincent and Edlund, Lena and Li, Hongbin and Zhang, Junsen, Long-Term Effects of the 1959-1961 China Famine: Mainland China and Hong Kong (September 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w13384, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1013514

Douglas Vincent Almond (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics ( email )

420 W. 118th Street
International Affairs Building, MC 3308
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-3239 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Lena Edlund

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics ( email )

420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-5489 (Phone)
212-854-8059 (Fax)

Hongbin Li

Chinese University of Hong Kong - Department of Economics ( email )

Shatin, N.T.
Hong Kong

Junsen Zhang

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Department of Economics ( email )

Shatin, N.T.
Hong Kong
852-2609-8186 (Phone)
852-2603-5805 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/eco/staff/jszhang/jzhang.htm

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
103
Abstract Views
2,472
rank
308,436
PlumX Metrics