Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/169141
Authors: 
Blum, Matthias
Colvin, Christopher L.
McLaughlin, Eoin
Year of Publication: 
2017
Series/Report no.: 
QUCEH Working Paper Series 2017-08
Abstract: 
What impact do famines have on survivors? We use individual-level data on a population exposed to severe famine conditions during infancy to document two opposing effects. The first: exposure to insufficient food and a worsened disease environment is associated with poor health into adulthood - a scarring effect. The second: famine survivors do not themselves suffer any health impact - a selection effect. Anthropometric evidence from records pertaining to over 21,000 subjects born before, during and after the Great Irish Famine (1845-52), one of modern history's most severe famine episodes, suggests that selection is strongest where famine mortality is highest. Individuals born in heavily-affected areas experienced no measurable stunted growth, while significant scarring was found only among those born in regions where the same famine did not result in any excess mortality.
Subjects: 
famine
fetal origins hypothesis
anthropometrics
economic history
Ireland
JEL: 
I15
I32
N33
Q54
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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