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Demographic, Residential, and Socioeconomic Effects on the Distribution of 19th Century US White Statures

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  • Scott A. Carson
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    Abstract

    Using a source of 19th century US state prison records, this study addresses European-American stature variation. The most commonly cited sources for stature variation are diets, disease, and work effort. However, vitamin D is also vital in human statures and health. This paper demonstrates that 19th century white statures were positively associated with direct sunlight, which is the primary source of vitamin D in mammals. Stature and insolation are associated with occupations, and workers who spent more time outdoors produced more vitamin D and grew taller. White statures also decreased throughout the 19th century, and this stature diminution is observed across the stature distribution.

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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2009/wp-cesifo-2009-02/cesifo1_wp2563.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2563.

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    Date of creation: 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2563

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    Related research

    Keywords: 19th US white statures; vitamin D; solar radiation; quantile regression;

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    1. Fogel, Robert W, 1994. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 369-95, June.
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    4. Sunder, Marco, 2004. "The height of Tennessee convicts: another piece of the "antebellum puzzle"," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 75-86, March.
    5. Carson, Scott Alan, 2008. "The Effect of Geography and Vitamin D on African American Stature in the Nineteenth Century: Evidence from Prison Records," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(03), pages 812-831, September.
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    8. John Komlos, . "The Height and Weight of West Point Cadets: Dietary Change in Antebellum America," Articles by John Komlos 32, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
    9. A'Hearn, Brian, 2004. "A restricted maximum likelihood estimator for truncated height samples," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 5-19, March.
    10. Nicholas, Stephen & Steckel, Richard H., 1991. "Heights and Living Standards of English Workers During the Early Years of Industrializations, 1770–1815," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(04), pages 937-957, December.
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    12. 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.
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