A1 Journal article (refereed)
Income inequality and famine mortality : evidence from the Finnish famine of the 1860s (2022)

Voutilainen, M. (2022). Income inequality and famine mortality : evidence from the Finnish famine of the 1860s. Economic History Review, 75(2), 503-529. https://doi.org/10.1111/ehr.13095

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Voutilainen, Miikka

Journal or series: Economic History Review

ISSN: 0013-0117

eISSN: 1468-0289

Publication year: 2022

Publication date: 18/08/2021

Volume: 75

Issue number: 2

Pages range: 503-529

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/ehr.13095

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/77486


This article examines whether economic inequality intensified the adverse effects of harvest, price, and income shocks during a famine. Using a parish-level longitudinal dataset from the Finnish famine of the 1860s, it shows that a substantial proportion of the excess mortality experienced during the famine resulted from a decline in agricultural production, a decline in incomes, and a surge in food prices. The findings indicate that the adverse effects of food output fluctuations were intensified by increasing income inequality and decreasing average income, while the market-transmitted shocks were weakened by a contraction of disposable income. The results are corroborated with multiple alternative estimation techniques, including the introduction of spatial spill-overs. The results show that even a pre-industrial famine affecting an impoverished society was meaningfully defined by the distribution of incomes.

Keywords: famine; mortality; inequality; poverty; famine of 1866-1868; economic history; demographic history

Free keywords: famines; Finland; inequality; nineteenth century; poverty

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

Preliminary JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 15:20