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Inequality and living standards under early communism: Anthropometric evidence from Czechoslovakia, 1946-1966

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  • Cvrcek, Tomas

Abstract

A sample of adolescent heights and weights from the Czechoslovak city of Liberec is analyzed to shed light on the changes in biological standard of living between 1946 and 1966, the early years of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia. The long-term trend in average height was upwards for all social groups but differences in stature between social groups were about as large as in Communist Czechoslovakia as in market economies, such as the UK. Sons of blue-collar fathers and of parents employed in agriculture were generally shorter than sons of clerks and professional employees (teachers, doctors, lawyers). The anthropometric record also suggests that in the immediately post-war years inequality was greater than in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Explorations in Economic History.

Volume (Year): 46 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 436-449

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Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:46:y:2009:i:4:p:436-449

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622830

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Keywords: Physical stature Biological standard of living Communism Czechoslovakia Command economies Anthropometric history;

References

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  1. Elizabeth Brainerd, 2006. "Reassessing the Standard of Living in the Soviet Union: An Analysis Using Archival and Anthropometric Data," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp812, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  2. Vignerova, J. & Brabec, M. & Blaha, P., 2006. "Two centuries of growth among Czech children and youth," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 237-252, June.
  3. Pak, Sunyoung, 2004. "The biological standard of living in the two Koreas," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 511-518, December.
  4. Komlos, John & Kriwy, Peter, 2003. "The Biological Standard of Living in the two Germanies," Discussion Papers in Economics 55, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Eiben, O. G. & Mascie-Taylor, C. G. N., 2004. "Children's growth and socio-economic status in Hungary," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 295-320, June.
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  7. Webb, Elizabeth Alice & Kuh, Diana & Pajak, Andrzej & Kubinova, Ruzena & Malyutina, Sofia & Bobak, Martin, 2008. "Estimation of secular trends in adult height, and childhood socioeconomic circumstances in three Eastern European populations," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 228-236, July.
  8. John Komlos, 2007. "Anthropometric evidence on economic growth, biological well-being and regional convergence in the Habsburg Monarchy, c. 1850–1910," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 1(3), pages 211-237, October.
  9. John Komlos & Benjamin E. Lauderdale, 2007. "Underperformance in Affluence: The Remarkable Relative Decline in U.S. Heights in the Second Half of the 20th Century," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 88(2), pages 283-305.
  10. Lintsi, Mart & Kaarma, Helje, 2006. "Growth of Estonian seventeen-year-old boys during the last two centuries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 89-103, January.
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