Can Openness Mitigate the Effects of Weather Fluctuations? Evidence from India’s Famine Era
Author(s)Burgess, Robin; Donaldson, David John
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A weakening dependence on rain-fed agriculture has been a hallmark of the economic transformation of countries throughout history. Rural citizens in developing countries today, however, remain highly exposed to fluctuations in the weather. This exposure affects the incomes these citizens earn and the prices of the foods they eat. Recent work has documented the significant mortality stress that rural households face in times of adverse weather (Robin Burgess, Olivier Deschenes, Dave Donaldson, and Michael Greenstone 2009; Masayuki Kudamatsu, Torsten Persson, and David Stromberg 2009). Famines—times of acutely low nominal agricultural income and acutely high food prices—are an extreme manifestation of this mapping from weather to death. Lilian C. A. Knowles (1924) describes these events as “agricultural lockouts” where both food supplies and agricultural employment, on which the bulk of the rural population depends, plummet. The result is catastrophic, with widespread hunger and loss of life.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Economics
American Economic Review
Burgess, Robin, and Dave Donaldson. "Can Openness Mitigate the Effects of Weather Shocks? Evidence from India's Famine Era." American Economic Review (2010) 100(2): 449–53.
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