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Dearth, Famine, and Risk: The Changing Impact of Crop Failures in Western India, 1870-1920

Michelle Burge McAlpin
The Journal of Economic History
Vol. 39, No. 1, The Tasks of Economic History (Mar., 1979), pp. 143-157
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2118916
Page Count: 15
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Dearth, Famine, and Risk: The Changing Impact of Crop Failures in Western India, 1870-1920
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Abstract

This article asks: why were crop failures (dearths) so frequent in western India between 1870 and 1920, and why did dearth decreasingly result in famine, that is, in severe elevation of mortality and in major disruptions of the agricultural sector. It is concluded that deficient rainfall caused the crop failures and that after 1900 increased trade in agricultural products and increased demand for labor, coupled with increased credit and relief services from government, significantly reduced the probability that a crop failure could result in widespread famine.

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