Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

2 - Impacts of 1931 Yangzi River Flood on Chinese Economy from the Perspective of the Grain Market

Saturday, July 7
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Maple, Lower Ground Floor

In 1931, China was hit by the unpreceded flood of Yangzi River. Although the 1931 Yangzi River Flood has been well remembered as a massive natural calamity, the quantitative analyses of the scale of the disaster have yet been fully done.  This paper takes on the task with the flood analysis and the examination of price data. Applying the flood analysis to the database of daily rainfall at several observation points along the Yangzi River, the record of water levels at the key ports, Chongqing, Yichang, Wuhan, Jiujiang, and Zhenjiang, and the topographical map of the coasts, the first part of the paper detects the areas hit by the flood to estimate its impact on the agricultural production.  The second part of the paper focuses on the spread of the shockwave by examining the grain prices of not only the disaster areas along the river but also the places far from there.  How did the natural disaster change into the socio-economic crisis through the national grain market?  How and when did those linkages of the regional economies recover from the maleffects of the flood?  Inquiring into those questions, this paper provides new insights into the key dynamics between the natural environment and the social institutions in modern China.

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