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Keywords:

  • Price behaviour;
  • Peasant behaviour;
  • Price responses;
  • Famine forecasting;
  • Famine conditions;
  • Northern Ethiopia

This paper, completed in January 1984, begins by briefly outlining the contrasting views of price behaviour during the last Ethiopian famine (1972–1974) put forward by Seaman and Holt (1980) and Sen (1981). A hypothesis is developed to account for peasant behaviour and price responses under developing famine conditions. This is then tested with data recently made available. The paper concludes by summarizing the findings and their implications for famine forecasting, and argues that famine conditions in Northern Ethiopia are likely to worsen during 1984.