Changes in American and British Stature Since the Mid-Eighteenth Century: A Prelimanary Report on the Usefulness of Data on Height..

66 Pages Posted: 30 Dec 2006  

Robert W. Fogel

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Stanley L. Engerman

University of Rochester - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Roderick Floud

London Metropolitan University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Richard H. Steckel

Ohio State University (OSU) - Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

James Trussell

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Kenneth Wachter

Independent

Kenneth L. Sokoloff

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Georgia C. Villaflor

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Robert A. Margo

Boston University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Gerald Friedman

University of Massachusetts at Amherst - College of Social and Behavioral Sciences - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 1982

Abstract

This paper is a progress report on the usefulness of data on physical height for the analysis of long-ten changes in the level of nutrition and health on economic, social, and demographic behavior. It is based on a set of samples covering the U.S. and several other nations over the years from 1750 to the present. The preliminary results indicate that native-born. American Revolution, but there were long periods of declining nutrition and height during the 19th century. Similar cycling has been established for England. A variety of factors, including crop mix, urbanization, occupation, intensity of labor, and immigration affected the level of height and nutrition, although the relative importance of these factors has changed over time. There is evidence that nutrition affected labor productivity. In one of the samples individuals who were one standard deviation above the mean height (holding weight per inch of height constant) were about 8% more productive than individuals one standard deviation below the mean height. Another finding is that death did not choose people at random. Analysis of data for Trinidad indicates that the annual death rate for the shortest quintile of males was more than twice as great as for the tallest quintile of males.

Suggested Citation

Fogel , Robert W. and Engerman, Stanley L. and Floud, Roderick and Steckel, Richard H. and Trussell, James and Wachter, Kenneth and Sokoloff, Kenneth L. and Villaflor, Georgia C. and Margo, Robert A. and Friedman, Gerald, Changes in American and British Stature Since the Mid-Eighteenth Century: A Prelimanary Report on the Usefulness of Data on Height.. (May 1982). NBER Working Paper No. w0890. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=351414

Robert W. Fogel (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Stanley L. Engerman

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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University of Rochester - Department of Economics ( email )

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Roderick Floud

London Metropolitan University ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Richard H. Steckel

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Ohio State University (OSU) - Economics ( email )

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T. James Trussell

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
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Kenneth Wachter

Independent

No Address Available

Kenneth L. Sokoloff

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Georgia C. Villaflor

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Robert A. Margo

Boston University - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Gerald Friedman

University of Massachusetts at Amherst - College of Social and Behavioral Sciences - Department of Economics ( email )

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