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This article examines whether economic inequality intensified the adverse effects of harvest, price, and income shocks during a famine. Using a parish-level longitudinal dataset from the Finnish famine of the 1860s, it shows that a substantial proportion of the excess mortality experienced during the famine resulted from a decline in agricultural production, a decline in incomes, and a surge in food prices. The findings indicate that the adverse effects of food output fluctuations were intensified by increasing income inequality and decreasing average income, while the market-transmitted shocks were weakened by a contraction of disposable income. The results are corroborated with multiple alternative estimation techniques, including the introduction of spatial spill-overs. The results show that even a pre-industrial famine affecting an impoverished society was meaningfully defined by the distribution of incomes.