Advertisement

Aspects of Gender in Famine: Evidence from the Chinese Great Leap Forward Famine

Reference work entry

Abstract

It is important to consider gender in famine studies. This chapter reviews two gender issues which affect how famine impacts women versus men. The issues discussed are female mortality advantage during famine, and son preference in intrahouse resource allocation under extreme economic constraints. Both female mortality advantage and son preference imply that female survivors would be more negatively affected by famine than male survivors. Analysis of the Chinese Great Leap Forward Famine shows a greater negative impact on disability and illiteracy for women than for men. Exploring heterogeneities in son preference among different ethnic groups, further analysis shows the bigger negative impact on disability for women most plausibly reflects female morality advantage, whereas a decline in female education outcomes is probably better explained by the culture of son preference. The evidence that exposure to famine in utero increases the likelihood of disability and illiteracy later in life implies the importance of timely health and nutrition interventions for vulnerable pregnant women, infants, and small children. Moreover, policies aimed to help affected people during crisis shall be designed with gender in mind.

Keywords

Chinese Great Leap Forward Famine Gender Female mortality advantage Son preference 

References

  1. Abrevaya J (2009) Are there missing girls in the United States? Evidence from birth data. Am Econ J Appl Econ 1:1–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Almond D, Edlund L (2008) Son-biased sex ratios in the 2000 United States census. Proc Natl Acad Sci 105:5681–5682CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Almond D, Edlund L, Li H, Zhang J (2007) Long-term effects of the 1959–1961 China famine: mainland China and Hong Kong. NBER working paper, vol 13384. National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  4. Baird S, Friedman J, Schady N (2011) Aggregate income shocks and infant mortality in the developing world. Rev Econ Stat 93(3):847–856CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barker DJP (1992) The fetal origins of diseases of old age. Eur J Clin Nutr 46:S3–S9Google Scholar
  6. Boyle PP, O Grada C (1986) Fertility trends, excess mortality, and the Great Irish Famine. Demography 23(4):543–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cai Y, Wang F (2005) Famine, social disruption, and involuntary fetal loss: evidence from Chinese survey data. Demography 42:301–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cameron L, Worswick C (2001) Education expenditure responses to crop loss in Indonesia: a gender bias. Econ Dev Cult Chang 49(2):351–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chang GH, Wen GJ (1998) Food availability versus consumption efficiency: causes of the Chinese famine. China Econ Rev 9:157–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chen C, Chen S (2004) The fertility culture of minorities (Shaoshu Minzu Shengyu Wenhua). China Population Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  11. Chen Y, Zhou L (2007) The long-term health and economic consequences of the 1959–1961 famine in China. J Health Econ 26:659–681CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Das Gupta M (2005) Explaining Asia’s ‘missing women’: a new look at the data. Popul Dev Rev 31:529–535CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Das Gupta M, Jiang Z, Li B, Xie Z, Chung W, Bae H (2003) Why is son preference so persistent in east and south Asia? A cross-country study of China, India and the Republic of Korea. J Dev Stud 40(2):153–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. de Waal A (1989) Famine mortality: a case study of Darfur, Sudan 1984–1985. Popul Stud 43(1):5–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Deaton A (1997) The analysis of household surveys: a microeconometric approach to development policy. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Duflo E (2012) Women empowerment and economic development. J Econ Lit 50(4):1051–1079CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hassold T, Quillen S, Yamane J (1983) Sex ratio in spontaneous abortions. Ann Hum Genet 47:39–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Healey J (2015) Famine and the female mortality advantage: sex, gender and mortality in northwest England, c. 1590–1630. Contin Chang 30(2):153–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Huang Y, Otsuka K, Rozelle S (2008) Agriculture in China’s development: past disappointments, recent successes, and future challenges. In: Brandt L, Rawski TG (eds) China’s great economic transformation. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  20. Jakobovits A (1991) Sex ratio of spontaneously aborted fetuses and delivered neonates in second trimester. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 40:211–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jayachandran S (2009) Air quality and early-life mortality: evidence from Indonesia’s wildfires. J Hum Resour 44(4):916–954Google Scholar
  22. Jayachandran S (2015) The roots of gender inequality in developing countries. Ann Rev Econ 7:63–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Johnson DG (1998) China’s great famine: introductory remarks. China Econ Rev 9:103–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kim S, Deng Q, Fleisher B, Li S (2014) The lasting impact of parental early life malnutrition on their offspring: evidence from the China Great Leap Forward Famine. World Dev 54:232–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kis D (2013) Defying death: women’s experience of the Holodomor, 1932–1933. ASp 7:42–67Google Scholar
  26. Lazarus J (2002) Human sex ratios: adaptations and mechanisms, problems and prospects. In: Hardy I (ed) Sex ratios: concepts and research methods. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  27. Li Q, An L (2015) Intergenerational health consequences of the 1959-1961 Great Famine on children in rural China. Econ Hum Biol 18:27–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Li W, Yang DT (2005) The great leap forward: anatomy of a central planning disaster. J Polit Econ 113:840–877CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lin JY (1990) Collectivization and China’s agricultural crisis in 1959–1961. J Polit Econ 98:1228–1252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lin JY, Yang DT (2000) Food availability, entitlements and the Chinese famine of 1959–61. Econ J 110:136–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lin JY, Cai F, Li Z (1996) The China miracle: development strategy and economic reform. The Chinese University Press, Hong KongGoogle Scholar
  32. Luo Z, Mu R, Zhang X (2006) Famine and overweight in China. Rev Agric Econ 28:296–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Maccini A, Yang D (2009) Under the weather: health, schooling, and socioeconomic consequences of early-life rainfall. Am Econ Rev 99(3):1006–1026CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Macintyre K (2002) Famine and the female mortality advantage. In: Dyson TÓ, Gráda C (eds) Famine demography: perspectives from the past and present. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  35. Meng X, Qian N (2006) The long run impact of childhood malnutrition: evidence from China’s great famine. Department of economics working paper. Brown University, ProvidenceGoogle Scholar
  36. Mesle F, Vallin J (2012) Mortality and causes of death in 20th-century Ukraine. Springer Science & Business Media, DordrechtCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mizuno R (2000) The male/female ratio of fetal deaths and births in Japan. Lancet 356:738–739CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mu R, Zhang X (2011) Why does the Great Chinese Famine affect the male and female survivors differently? Mortality selection versus son preference. Econ Hum Biol 9:92–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Naughton B (2007) The Chinese economy. The MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  40. Peng X (1987) Demographic consequences of the Great Leap Forward in China’s provinces. Popul Dev Rev 13:639–670CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pitkänen K (2002) Famine mortality in nineteenth-century Finland: is there a sex bias. In: Dyson TÓ, Gráda C (eds) Famine demography: perspectives from the past and present. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  42. Ravallion M (1997) Famine and economics. J Econ Lit 35(3):631–638Google Scholar
  43. Ravelli ACJ, van de Meulen JH, Osmond C, Barker DJ, Bleker OP (1999) Obesity at the age of 50 in men and women exposed to famine prenatally. Am J Clin Nutr 70:811–816CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Razzaque A, Alam N, Wai L, Foster A (1990) Sustained effects of the 1974–1976 famine on infant and child mortality in a rural area of Bangladesh. Popul Stud 44(1):145–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rose E (1999) Consumption smoothing and excess female mortality in rural India. Rev Econ Stat 81(1):41–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sen A (1990) More than 100 million women are missing. N Y Rev Book 37(20):61–66Google Scholar
  47. Shettles LB (1961) Conception and birth sex ratios. Obstet Gynecol 18:122–130Google Scholar
  48. Shi X (2011) Famine, fertility, and fortune in China. China Econ Rev 22:244–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Song S (2009) Does famine have a long-term effect on cohort mortality? Evidence from the 1959–1961 Great Leap Forward Famine in China. J Biosoc Sci 41:469–491CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Song S (2012) Does famine influence sex ratio at birth? Evidence from the 1959–1961 Great Leap Forward Famine in China. Proc Biol Sci 279(1739):2883–2890CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. St. Clair D, Xu M, Wang P, Yu Y, Fang Y, Zhang F, Zheng X, Gu N, Feng G, Sham P, He L (2005) Rates of adult schizophrenia following prenatal exposure to the Chinese famine of 1959–1961. JAMA 294:557–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. United Nations (UN) Secretariat (1998) Too young to die: genes or gender. United Nations Publications, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  53. Waldron I (1998) Sex differences in infant and early child mortality: major causes of death and possible biological causes. In: United Nations (ed) Too young to die: genes or gender? United Nations Publications, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  54. Wilson EO (1975) Sociobiology: the new synthesis. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  55. World Bank (2011) World development report 2012: gender equality and development. World Bank, Washington, DCCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. World Bank (2012) Engendering development: through gender equality in rights, resources, and voice. New York/Oxford/Washington, DC: Oxford University Press/World BankGoogle Scholar
  57. Yang DL (1996) Calamity and reform in China: state, rural society, and institutional change since the great leap famine. Stanford University Press, StanfordGoogle Scholar
  58. Yang DL, Su SF (1998) The politics of famine and reform in rural China. China Econ Rev 9:141–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Yang Z, Zhang W, Zhang X, Mu R, Zhai Y, Kong L, Chen C (2008) Impact of famine during pregnancy and infancy on health in adulthood. Obes Rev 9:95–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Zarulli V, Barthold JA, Oksuzyan A, Lindahl-Jacobsen R, Christensen K, Vaupel JW (2017) Women survive severe famines and epidemics better than men. In: Paper presented at population association of America annual meetingsGoogle Scholar
  61. Zeng Y, Tu P, Gu B, Xu Y, Li B, Li Y (1993) Causes and implications of the recent increase in the reported sex ratio at birth in China. Popul Dev Rev 19(2):283–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Zhang L (2006) Zhongguo Shaoshu Minzu Renkou Chusheng Xingbiebi Wenti Yanjiu [Study on sex ratio at birth among Chinese minority ethnic groups]. Xibei Renkou [Northwest Demogra] 1:28–31Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International Affairs, Bush School of Government and Public ServiceTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

Personalised recommendations