Famine in Ghana and Its Impact

  • Chih Ming TanEmail author
  • Marc Rockmore
Living reference work entry


In many developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture plays a central role in economic life. This was particularly true in Ghana during the early 1980s, as the sector employed a little over half of the total labor force and accounted for close to 60% of gross domestic product (GDP; World Development Indicators). In the absence of any irrigation, rainfall levels largely determined agricultural output and therefore the livelihoods of much of the population. While Ghana experienced droughts throughout its history, the 1981–1983 drought stands out for its severity. This chapter examines the origins of the drought and the resultant famine before tracing out its immediate and long-run consequences on a wide range of health outcomes.


Ghana Famine Drought Stunting Wasting Cognitive Development Early Childhood Nutrition Fetal Origins Hypothesis Lifecycle models Family investment models 

List of Abbreviations


Catholic Relief Services


Demographic and Health Survey


Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations


Gross Domestic Product


Ghana Education Impact Evaluation Survey


Maternal and Child Health


National Center for Health Statistics


Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism


Sub-Saharan Africa


World Health Organization


United States Agency for International Development


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics & FinanceCollege of Business and Public Administration, University of North DakotaGrand ForksUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsClark UniversityWorcesterUSA

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