Intergenerational health consequences of the 1959-1961 Great Famine on children in rural China
Using a difference-in-difference method and data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS), this paper attempts to quantify the intergenerational health effects on children in rural China of the 1959-1961 Great Famine. By differentiating mother, father, both parents, and none of parents exposed to famine, the analysis puts mother's and father's famine exposure in one unifying framework. Therefore, the methodology achieves identification without concern for multicollinearity and omitted variable bias found in the previous literature. The results imply that children with both parents born in the Great Famine are significantly shorter by 0.37 standard deviations (1.89 cm for boys and 1.78 cm for girls) compared to children with no parents born in the mass starvation. There are also gender and age differences relative to the intergenerational effects of the famine. Girls suffer more than boys, and children between 8 and 12 years of age suffer more than the other age groups.
Economics and Human Biology
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Li, & An, L. (2015). Intergenerational health consequences of the 1959–1961 Great Famine on children in rural China. Economics and Human Biology, 18, 27–40. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ehb.2015.03.003