Stunting and Selection Effects of Famine: A Case Study of the Great Chinese Famine

48 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2007

See all articles by Tue Gørgens

Tue Gørgens

Australian National University (ANU) - Research School of Economics (RSE)

Xin Meng

Australian National University; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Rhema Vaithianathan

University of Auckland

Date Written: January 2007

Abstract

The Great Chinese Famine of 1959-1961 is puzzling, since despite the high death rates, there is no discernable diminution in height amongst the majority of cohorts who were exposed to the famine in crucial growth years. An explanation is that shorter children experienced greater mortality and that this selection offset stunting. We disentangle stunting and selection effects of the Chinese famine, using the height of the children of the famine cohort. We find significant stunting of about 2 cm for rural females and slightly less for rural males who experienced the famine in the first five years of life. Our results suggest that mortality bias implies that raw height is not always a good measure of economic conditions during childhood.

Keywords: famine, height, China, panel data, GMM

JEL Classification: C33, I12, N950, O15

Suggested Citation

Gorgens, Tue and Meng, Xin and Vaithianathan, Rhema, Stunting and Selection Effects of Famine: A Case Study of the Great Chinese Famine (January 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2543. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=958702 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.958702

Tue Gorgens

Australian National University (ANU) - Research School of Economics (RSE) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

Xin Meng (Contact Author)

Australian National University ( email )

Research School of Economics
College of Business and Economics
Canberra ACT 0200
Australia
+61 26249 3102 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Rhema Vaithianathan

University of Auckland ( email )

Private Bag 92019
Com. A, Room: 107
Auckland
New Zealand
64-9-373-7599 ext. 7127 (Phone)

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