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Living Conditions in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Western Africa 1925-1985: What do Survey Data on Height Stature tell us?

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  • Rouanet, Léa
  • Cogneau, Denis

Abstract

Survey data reveals that the pace of increase in height stature experienced by successive cohorts born in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana during the late colonial period (1925–1960) is almost as high as the pace observed in France and Great Britain during the period 1875 to 1975, even when correcting for the bias arising from old-age shrinking. By contrast, the early post-colonial period (1960–1985) is characterised by stagnation or even reversion in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana. This article argues that the selection effects linked for instance to measuring the height of women rather than men, mothers rather than women, and, most importantly, the interactions between height and mortality, cannot account for these figures. It then disaggregates these national trends by parental background and district of birth, and match individual data with district-level historical data on export crop (cocoa) expansion, urban density and colonial investment in health and education. Finally, it provides evidence that a significant share of the increase in height stature may be related to the early stages of urbanisation and cocoa production.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Paris Dauphine University in its series Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine with number 123456789/4300.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Publication status: Published in Economic History of Developing Regions, 2011, Vol. 26, no. 2. pp. 55-82.Length: 27 pages
Handle: RePEc:dau:papers:123456789/4300

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Keywords: Anthropometry; Anthropométrie; Afrique de l'Ouest; Histoire économique; West Africa; Economic History;

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Cited by:
  1. Camelia Minoiu & Olga N. Shemyakina, 2012. "Armed Conflict, Household Victimization, and Child Health in Côte d'Ivoire," HiCN Working Papers 115, Households in Conflict Network.
  2. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2011. "Human development in Africa : a long-run perspective," Working Papers in Economic History wp11-09, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.
  3. Akachi, Yoko & Canning, David, 2010. "Health trends in Sub-Saharan Africa: Conflicting evidence from infant mortality rates and adult heights," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 273-288, July.
  4. Alexander Moradi, 2010. "Selective Mortality or Growth after Childhood?� What Really is Key to Understand the Puzzlingly Tall Adult Heights in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economics Series Working Papers CSAE WPS/2010-17, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Jerven , Morten & Austin , Gareth & Green, Erik & Uche , Chibuike & Frankema , Ewout & Fourie , Johan & Inikori , Joseph & Moradi , Alexander & Hillbom , Ellen, 2012. "Moving Forward in African Economic History: Bridging the Gap Between Methods and Sources," African Economic History Working Paper 1/2012, African Economic History Network.

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