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On English Pygmies and Giants: the Physical Stature of English Youth in the late-18th and early-19th Centuries

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  • Komlos, John

Abstract

The physical stature of lower- and upper-class English youth are compared to one another and to their European and North American counterparts. The height gap between the rich and poor was the greatest in England, reaching 22 cm at age 16. The poverty-stricken English children were shorter for their age than any other European or North American group so far discovered, while the English rich were the tallest in their time: only 2.5 cm shorter than today’s US standards. Height of the poor declined in the late-18th century, and again in the 1830s and 1840s conforming to the general European pattern, while the height of the wealthy tended rather to increase until the 1840s and then levelled off.

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File URL: http://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/573/1/children_youth.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 573.

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Date of creation: Apr 2005
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Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:573

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Keywords: Height; Biological Standard of Living; Anthropometry; Inequality; Industrial Revolution;

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  1. John Komlos & Peter Coclanis, . "On the 'Puzzling' Antebellum Cycle of the Biological Standard of Living: the Case of Georgia," Articles by John Komlos, Department of Economics, University of Munich 9, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
  2. Steckel, Richard H., 1979. "Slave height profiles from coastwise manifests," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 363-380, October.
  3. John Komlos, . "Shrinking in a Growing Economy? The Mystery of Physical Stature during the Industrial Revolution," Articles by John Komlos, Department of Economics, University of Munich 7, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
  4. John Komlos & Peter Coclanis, . "Nutrition and Economic Development in Post-Reconstruction South Carolina: an Anthropometric Approach," Articles by John Komlos, Department of Economics, University of Munich 15, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
  5. A'Hearn, Brian, 2004. "A restricted maximum likelihood estimator for truncated height samples," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 5-19, March.
  6. Komlos, John, 2003. "How to (and How Not to) Analyze Deficient Height Samples," Discussion Papers in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics 56, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Adolfo Meisel & Margarita Vega, . "The Stature of the Colombian Elite Before the Onset of Industrialization, 1870-1919," Borradores de Economia 339, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
  2. Dobado González, Rafael / R & García Montero, Héctor / H, 2010. "Colonial Origins of Inequality in Hispanic America? Some reflections based on new empirical evidence," MPRA Paper 28738, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Richard H. Steckel, 2008. "Heights and Human Welfare: Recent Developments and New Directions," NBER Working Papers 14536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jörg Baten & Dorothee Crayen & Joachim Voth, 2007. "Poor, hungry and ignorant: Numeracy and the impact of high food prices in industrializing Britain, 1780-1850," Economics Working Papers 1120, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Dec 2011.

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