Nutrition and the Decline in Mortality since 1700: Some Preliminary Findings
In: Long-Term Factors in American Economic Growth
AbstractThis paper uses the data in the NBER/CPE pilot sample of genealogies to create a new time series on life expectation in the U.S. since 1720. After attaining remarkably high levels toward the end of the eighteenth century, life expectation as measured by e0(10) began a decline that lasted about 80 years before beginning the new rise with which we have long been familiar. Second, time series on the average adult stature of national populations in North America and Europe are used as a measure of nutritional status. The properties of this measure in the analysis of labor welfare and an explanation for the high correlation between stature and the Cini ratio are discussed.The time series on stature is strongly correlated with the series on e0(10) and other measures of mortality. Third, these correlations are used to estimate the contribution of improvements in nutritional status (not diet alone but diet net of prior claims) to the decline in mortality in Europe and America since 1800. Improvements in nutritional status may have accounted for as ifiuch as four tenths of the decline in mortality rates, but nearly all of this effect was concentrated in the reduction of infant mortality. The new findings are used to resolve several paradoxes and the implication of the findings for the standard-of-living controversy are considered.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
This chapter was published in:
This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 9687.
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- Robert W. Fogel, 1984. "Nutrition and the Decline in Mortality Since 1700: Some Preliminary Findings," NBER Working Papers 1402, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.