We constructed a large, unique panel data to study the causes of Ukrainian famine mortality (Holodomor) during 1932-33 and document several new facts: i) Ukraine (the Soviet Union) produced enough food in 1932 to avoid famine in Ukraine (the Soviet Union); ii) mortality was increasing in the pre-famine ethnic Ukrainian population share and unrelated to food productivity across regions; iii) this pattern exists across the Soviet Union, even outside of Ukraine; iv) the pattern was similar at different administrative levels; v) migration restrictions exacerbated mortality; vi) actual and planned grain procurement were increasing, while actual and planned grain retention (production minus procurement) were decreasing in the ethnic Ukrainian population share across regions. Anti-Ukrainian bias in Soviet policy explains up to 92% of famine mortality in Ukraine and 77% in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus; approximately half of the total effect comes from bias in the centrally planned food procurement policy.
Past Faculty Workshop•May 16, 2023
Nancy Qian, Northwestern University
The Causes of Ukrainian Famine Mortality, 1932-33