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The influence of inequality on the standard of living: Worldwide anthropometric evidence from the 19th and 20th centuries

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  • Blum, Matthias

Abstract

We provide empirical evidence on the existence of the Pigou–Dalton principle. The latter indicates that aggregate welfare is – ceteris paribus – maximized when incomes of all individuals are equalized (and therefore marginal utility from income is as well). Using anthropometric panel data on 101 countries during the 19th and 20th centuries, we determine that there is a systematic negative and concave relationship between height inequality and average height. The robustness of this relationship is tested by means of several robustness checks, including two instrument variable regressions. These findings help to elucidate the impact of economic inequality on welfare.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics & Human Biology.

Volume (Year): 11 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 436-452

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:11:y:2013:i:4:p:436-452

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964

Related research

Keywords: Height; Income distribution; Inequality; Welfare; Anthropometry; Biological standard of living;

References

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  18. Yvonne Stolz & Jörg Baten, 2012. "Brain Drain in the Age of Mass Migration: Does Relative Inequality Explain Migrant Selectivity?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3705, CESifo Group Munich.
  19. Blum, Matthias, 2011. "Government decisions before and during the First World War and the living standards in Germany during a drastic natural experiment," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 556-567.
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Cited by:
  1. Blum, Matthias & Hanley, Nicholas & McLaughlin, Eoin, 2013. "Genuine savings and future well-being in Germany, 1850-2000," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2013-13, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.

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