‘The Last, the Most Dreadful Resource of Nature’: Economic-Historical Reflections on Famine

UCD Centre for Economic Research, Working paper series, 2016

37 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2016

See all articles by Cormac O'Grada

Cormac O'Grada

University College Dublin (UCD)

Date Written: April 2, 2016

Abstract

The lecture paper focuses on some topics that remain current in famine studies. First, it reviews the link between food prices and the severity of famines as reflected in excess mortality. Second, it places the death tolls from several recent famines in sub-Saharan Africa in historical context. Third, it reviews the impact of famines on fertility. Famines are always associated with a reduction in births; but to what extent are those births lost or births postponed? Fourth, it reviews the literature that invokes famines as a testing ground for the foetal origins hypothesis. Finally, it reviews the prospect of a near future in which famines have been consigned to history.

Keywords: famine, malnutrition, fetal origins hypothesis

JEL Classification: N, O

Suggested Citation

O'Grada, Cormac, ‘The Last, the Most Dreadful Resource of Nature’: Economic-Historical Reflections on Famine (April 2, 2016). UCD Centre for Economic Research, Working paper series, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2758096 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2758096

Cormac O'Grada (Contact Author)

University College Dublin (UCD) ( email )

Dublin 4, 4
Ireland

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