The Institutional Causes of China’s Great Famine, 1959-61

Written by Xin Meng, Nancy Qian, and Pirerre Yared, this paper is a very good applied study of Mises and Hayek:

This paper investigates the institutional causes of China’s Great Famine. It presents two empirical findings: 1) in 1959, when the famine began, food production was almost three times more than population subsistence needs; and 2) regions with higher per capita food production that year suffered higher famine mortality rates, a surprising reversal of a typically negative correlation. A simple model based on historical institutional details shows that these patterns are consistent with the policy outcomes in a centrally planned economy in which the government is unable to easily collect and respond to new information in the presence of an aggregate shock to production.

You can find ungated copies here.


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