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The Political Economy of Hunger: Volume 3: Endemic Hunger$
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Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198286370

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198286370.001.0001

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Feeding China *

Feeding China *

The Experience since 1949

(p.15) 1 Feeding China*
The Political Economy of Hunger: Volume 3: Endemic Hunger

Carl Riskin

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses the evidence of China's apparently remarkable success in reducing the prevalence of malnutrition. This success is particularly associated with public policies taking in relatively egalitarian distribution (the result of rural collective institutions) and widespread public support of health and nutrition. The chapter also focuses on the mechanisms of food distribution, provincial as well as personal. The rapid expansion of food production and consumption in the post-reform era owed much to the elimination of negative incentives, and the government's ever greater redistributive role has significantly reduced regional insufficiency of food supply. The chapter analyses factors contributing to the famine of 1959-61, and explores the roles of direct and indirect state policies and information in this regard. It is argued that despite the early success of reforms, the eradication of China's food problem is far from complete.

Keywords:   food supply, Chinese famine, food policies, post-1978 reforms, food distribution

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