Autarchy, Market Disintegration, and Health: The Mortality and Nutritional Crisis in Nazi Germany, 1933-1937

Posted: 24 Mar 2003

See all articles by Jörg Baten

Jörg Baten

University of Tuebingen - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Andrea Wagner

University of Munich

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

Trends in mortality, nutritional status and food supply are compared to other living standard indicators for the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) and for the early years of the Nazi regime (1933-1937). The results imply that Germany experienced a substantial increase in mortality rates in most age groups in the mid-1930s, even relative to those of 1932, the worst year of the Great Depression. Moreover, children's heights - an indicator of the quality of nutrition and health - were generally stagnating between 1933 and 1938, but had increased significantly during the 1920s. Persecution, by itself, does not explain such an adverse development in biological welfare; the non-persecuted segments of the German population were affected as well. The reason for this adverse development was caused by the fact that military expenditures increased at the expense of public health measures. In addition, food imports were curtailed, and prices of many agricultural products were controlled. There is ample evidence that this set of economic policies had an adverse effect on the health and nutritional status of the population. The highly developed areas of Germany with large urban sectors and the coastal regions of the Northwest were affected most from the policy of restricting imports of protein-rich agricultural products.

Keywords: Autarchy, Market Disintegration, Health

JEL Classification: D6, F0, I1, N4, P4

Suggested Citation

Baten, Jorg and Wagner, Andrea, Autarchy, Market Disintegration, and Health: The Mortality and Nutritional Crisis in Nazi Germany, 1933-1937. Economics and Human Biology, Vol. 1, pp. 1-18, January 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=382220

Jorg Baten (Contact Author)

University of Tuebingen - Department of Economics ( email )

Mohlstrasse 36
D-72074 Tuebingen, 72074
Germany
+49 7071 2972985 (Phone)
+49 7071 295119 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Andrea Wagner

University of Munich ( email )

Ludwigstrasse 33/III
Munich 80539
Germany

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