Journal of Historical Political Economy > Vol 4 > Issue 1

Insuring Against Hunger? The Long-Term Political Consequences of Exposure to the Dutch Famine

Raluca L. Pahontu, Department of Political Economy, King's College London, UK, , Gerda Hooijer, Department of Political Science, University College London, UK, , David Rueda, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, UK,
Suggested Citation
Raluca L. Pahontu, Gerda Hooijer and David Rueda (2024), "Insuring Against Hunger? The Long-Term Political Consequences of Exposure to the Dutch Famine", Journal of Historical Political Economy: Vol. 4: No. 1, pp 33-58.

Publication Date: 21 May 2024
© 2024 R. L. Pahontu, G. Hooijer, and D. Rueda
Comparative political economy,  Comparative politics,  Voting behavior
Redistributioninsurancefaminevoting behavior


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In this article:
Famine, Insurance, Redistribution, and Voting 
The Dutch Famine 
Data and Measurement 
Robustness Tests 


Does experiencing a shock alter one's voting behavior? We explore how a specific shock to individuals' health and human capital accumulation — in-utero malnutrition — prompted by the sudden onset of the 1944/45 Dutch Famine affected insurance demand and voting behavior later in life. Given similar socialization patterns, we find conglomerations of affected individuals to be associated with higher support for Left parties more than 50 years after the exposure. Relying on rich administrative data and leveraging the Dutch Famine as a natural experiment, this paper represents an initial effort to investigate and confirm the long-term effects of shocks on political behavior.