Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Convergence (and Divergence) in the Biological Standard of Living in the United States, 1820-1900

Contents:

Author Info

  • Areendam Chanda

    ()

  • Lee A. Craig
  • Julianne Treme

Abstract

Standard economic indicators suggest that the United States experienced long-run economic growth throughout the nineteenth century. However, biological indicators, including human stature, offer a different picture, rising early in the century, falling (on average) mid-century, and rising again at the end of the century. This pattern varied across geographical regions. Using a unique data set, consisting of mean adult stature by state, we test for convergence in stature among states in the nineteenth century. We find that during the period of declining mean stature, heights actually diverged. Later in the century we find a type of “negative” convergence indicating that stature among states tended to converge to a new, lower steady state. Only towards the end of the century do we find classic convergence behavior. We argue that the diversity of economic experiences across regions, e.g. urbanization, industrialization, and transportation improvements, explain this pattern of divergence and then convergence.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.bus.lsu.edu/economics/papers/pap07_01.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Louisiana State University in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2007-01.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation:
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lsu:lsuwpp:2007-01

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Baton Rouge, LA 70803-6306
Fax: 225-578-3807
Email:
Web page: http://www.business.lsu.edu/economics
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. 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.
  2. Dora Costa & Richard H. Steckel, 1997. "Long-Term Trends in Health, Welfare, and Economic Growth in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Health and Welfare during Industrialization, pages 47-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. John Komlos & Peter Coclanis, . "On the 'Puzzling' Antebellum Cycle of the Biological Standard of Living: the Case of Georgia," Articles by John Komlos 9, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
  5. Logan, Trevon D., 2006. "Food, nutrition, and substitution in the late nineteenth century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 527-545, July.
  6. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  7. Mankiw, N Gregory & Romer, David & Weil, David N, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-37, May.
  8. Lee A. Craig & Thomas Weiss, 1997. "Nutritional Status and Agricultural Surpluses in the Antebellum United States," NBER Historical Working Papers 0099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Gregson, Mary Eschelbach, 1993. "Rural Response to Increased Demand: Crop Choice in the Midwest, 1860–1880," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(02), pages 332-345, June.
  10. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1991. "Convergence across States and Regions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(1), pages 107-182.
  11. Gary S. Becker & Tomas J. Philipson & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2003. "The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality," NBER Working Papers 9765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Goodwin, Barry K. & Grennes, Thomas J. & Craig, Lee A., 2002. "Mechanical Refrigeration and the Integration of Perishable Commodity Markets," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 154-182, April.
  13. Richard H. Steckel, 1982. "Height and Per Capita Income," NBER Working Papers 0880, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. J. W. Drukker & Vincent Tassenaar, 1997. "Paradoxes of Modernization and Material Well-Being in the Netherlands during the Nineteenth Century," NBER Chapters, in: Health and Welfare during Industrialization, pages 331-378 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Baumol, William J, 1986. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: What the Long-run Data Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1072-85, December.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Thomas J. Weiss, 1992. "U. S. Labor Force Estimates and Economic Growth, 1800-1860," NBER Chapters, in: American Economic Growth and Standards of Living before the Civil War, pages 19-78 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1963. "On the Concept of Optimal Economic Growth," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 163, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  21. Gregory Clark & Michael Huberman & Peter H. Lindert, 1995. "A British food puzzle, 1770–1850," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(2), pages 215-237, 05.
  22. 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.
  23. Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Convergence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 223-51, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lsu:lsuwpp:2007-01. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.