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African-American and White Inequality in the American South: Evidence from the 19th Century Missouri State Prison

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  • Scott A. Carson
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    Abstract

    The use of height data to measure living standards is now a well-established method in economic history. Moreover, a number of core findings in the literature are widely agreed upon. There are still some populations, places, and times, however, for which anthropometric evidence remains thin. One example is 19th century African-Americans in US border states. This paper introduces a new data set from the Missouri state prison to track black and white male heights from 1829 to 1913. Where modern blacks and whites come to comparable terminal statures when brought to maturity under optimal conditions, whites were persistently taller than blacks in this Missouri prison sample. Over time, black and white adult statures remained approximately constant throughout the 19th century, while black youth stature increased considerably during the antebellum period and decreased during Reconstruction.

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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2007/wp-cesifo-2007-03/cesifo1_wp1954.pdf
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    Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1954.

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    Date of creation: 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1954

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    1. John Komlos & Marieluise Baur, 2003. "From the Tallest to (One of) the Fattest: The Enigmatic Fate of the American Population in the 20th Century," CESifo Working Paper Series 1028, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Komlos, John, 1987. "The Height and Weight of West Point Cadets: Dietary Change in Antebellum America," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(04), pages 897-927, December.
    3. David M. Cutler & Angus S. Deaton & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2006. "The Determinants of Mortality," Working Papers id:359, eSocialSciences.
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    5. Bodenhorn, Howard, 1999. "A Troublesome Caste: Height and Nutrition of Antebellum Virginia's Rural Free Blacks," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(04), pages 972-996, December.
    6. R. Rees & John Komlos & Ngo V. Long & Ulrich Woitek, 2003. "Optimal food allocation in a slave economy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 21-36, 02.
    7. John Komlos, . "Anomalies in Economic History: Reflections on the 'Antebellum Puzzle'," Articles by John Komlos 12, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
    8. Richard H. Steckel, 1991. "Stature and Living Standards in the United States," NBER Historical Working Papers 0024, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Wahl, Jenny B., 1996. "The Jurisprudence of American Slave Sales," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(01), pages 143-169, March.
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    11. Lars Sandberg & Richard H. Steckel, 1997. "Was Industrialization Hazardous to Your Health? Not in Sweden!," NBER Chapters, in: Health and Welfare during Industrialization, pages 127-160 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Haines, Michael R. & Craig, Lee A. & Weiss, Thomas, 2003. "The Short and the Dead: Nutrition, Mortality, and the in the United States," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(02), pages 382-413, June.
    13. John Komlos, 1992. "Toward an Anthropometric History of African-Americans: The Case of the Free Blacks in Antebellum Maryland," NBER Chapters, in: Strategic Factors in Nineteenth Century American Economic History: A Volume to Honor Robert W. Fogel, pages 297-329 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Komlos, John, 1998. "Shrinking in a Growing Economy? The Mystery of Physical Stature during the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 779-802, September.
    15. Komlos, John & Coclanis, Peter, 1997. "On the Puzzling Cycle in the Biological Standard of Living: The Case of Antebellum Georgia," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 433-459, October.
    16. Steckel, Richard H., 1979. "Slave height profiles from coastwise manifests," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 363-380, October.
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