Why does the Great Chinese Famine affect the male and female survivors differently? Mortality selection versus son preference. Academic Article uri icon


  • Evidence shows that exposure to nutritional adversity in early life has larger long-term impacts on women than on men. Consistent with these findings, our paper shows a higher incidence of disability and illiteracy among female survivors of the Great Chinese Famine (1959-1961). Moreover we find that the better health of male survivors most plausibly reflects higher male excess mortality during the famine, whereas the observed gender difference in illiteracy rate is probably better explained by the culture of son preference.

published proceedings

  • Econ Hum Biol

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Mu, R., & Zhang, X.

citation count

  • 101

complete list of authors

  • Mu, Ren||Zhang, Xiaobo

publication date

  • January 2011