Journal Article


Kevin H. O'Rourke
Cormac Ó Gráda



disaster relief living standards great famine ireland history famine 1845 1852 irish population irish migration ireland emigration and immigration irish famine

Migration as disaster relief : lessons from the Great Irish Famine (1997)

Abstract Mass emigration was one key feature of the Great Irish Famine which distinguishes it from today's famines. By bringing famine victims to overseas food supplies, it undoubtedly saved many lives. Poverty traps prevented those most in need from availing of this form of relief, however. Cross-county data show that the ratio of emigration to deaths was higher in richer than in poorer counties. Another key feature of the Famine emigration was that it was irreversible. The Famine thus had a permanent impact on Ireland's population and economy, whereas typically famines only reduce population in a transitory fashion. Famine emigration spurred post-Famine emigration by eliminating poverty traps; the result was a sustained decline in the Irish population, and a convergence of living standards both within Ireland and between Ireland and the rest of the world.
Collections Ireland -> University College Dublin -> School of Economics
Ireland -> University College Dublin -> College of Social Sciences and Law
Ireland -> University College Dublin -> Economics Research Collection

Full list of authors on original publication

Kevin H. O'Rourke, Cormac Ó Gráda

Experts in our system

Kevin H. O'Rourke
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 24
Cormac Ó Gráda
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 193