The Political Economy of Famine: The Ukrainian Famine of 1933
101 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2018 Last revised: 29 Jun 2020
Date Written: June 21, 2020
The 1933 Ukrainian famine killed as many as 2.6 million people out of a population of 32 million. Historians offer three main explanations: weather, economic policies, genocide. This paper documents that (1) available data do not support weather as the main explanation: 1931 and 1932 weather predicts harvest roughly equal to the 1924--1929 average; weather explains up to 8.1% of excess deaths. (2) Policies (collectivization of agriculture and the lack of favored industries) significantly increased famine mortality; collectivization explains up to 52% of excess deaths. (3) There is some evidence that ethnic Ukrainians and Germans were discriminated against.
Keywords: Famines, Ukraine, Central Planning, Collectivization, Genocide
JEL Classification: P2, O14, N44, J15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation