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European Heights in the Early 18th Century

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  • Komlos, John
  • Cinnirella, Francesco

Abstract

We estimate the height of various European populations in the first half of the 18th century. English and Irish male heights are estimated at c. 65 inches (165 cm), and c. 66 inches (168 cm) respectively. These values are below those obtained from the only other sample available for the period pertaining to British and Irish men, namely those of runaway indentured and convict servants in colonial North America, whose height is estimated as between 66.4 and 67.0 inches (168,7 and 170,2 cm). At c. 64.5 inches (164 cm) Saxon, German and Scotch military heights appear to be near the bottom of the European height distribution in this period. The English were about as tall as Bohemians and French, but shorter than the Irish and Hungarians. A large decline in English heights is evident among the birth cohorts of 1725-29, suggesting that the subsistence crisis of this period must have had a substantial lasting impact on the nutritional status of the cohort born during a time of nutritional deprivation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 572.

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Date of creation: Apr 2005
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Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:572

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Keywords: Height; Biological Standard of Living; Anthropometry; Pre-industrial Economy;

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References

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  1. John Komlos, 1999. "On the nature of the Malthusian threat in the eighteenth century," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 52(4), pages 730-748, November.
  2. Komlos, John & Baur, Marieluise, 2003. "From the Tallest to (One of) the Fattest: The Enigmatic Fate of the American Population in the 20th Century," Discussion Papers in Economics 76, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. John Komlos, . "Stature and Nutrition in the Habsburg Monarchy: The Standard of Living and Economic Development," Articles by John Komlos 36, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
  4. Mokyr, Joel & O Grada, Cormac, 1996. "Height and Health in the United Kingdom 1815-1860: Evidence from the East India Company Army," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 141-168, April.
  5. A'Hearn, Brian, 2003. "Anthropometric Evidence on Living Standards in Northern Italy, 1730 1860," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(02), pages 351-381, June.
  6. John Komlos, 1989. "Nutrition and Economic Development in the Eighteenth-Century Habsburg Monarchy: An Anthropometric History," Books by John Komlos, Department of Economics, University of Munich, number 2.
  7. John Komlos, . "Shrinking in a Growing Economy? The Mystery of Physical Stature during the Industrial Revolution," Articles by John Komlos 7, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
  8. A'Hearn, Brian, 2004. "A restricted maximum likelihood estimator for truncated height samples," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 5-19, March.
  9. Komlos, John, 2003. "How to (and How Not to) Analyze Deficient Height Samples," Discussion Papers in Economics 56, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  10. John Komlos, . "A Malthusian Episode Revisited: The Height of British and Irish Servants in Colonial America," Articles by John Komlos 18, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
  11. Komlos, John, 2003. "On the Biological Standard of Living of Eighteenth-Century Americans: Taller, Richer, Healthier," Discussion Papers in Economics 53, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  12. John Komlos, . "The Secular Trend in the Biological Standard of Living in the United Kingdom, 1730-1860," Articles by John Komlos 19, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
  13. Baten, Jorg & Murray, John E., 2000. "Heights of Men and Women in 19th-Century Bavaria: Economic, Nutritional, and Disease Influences," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 351-369, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Javier Birchenall, 2007. "Escaping high mortality," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 351-387, December.
  2. Birchenall, Javier A., 2007. "Economic Development and the Escape from High Mortality," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 543-568, April.

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