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Short Criminals: Stature and Crime in Early America

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  • Howard Bodenhorn
  • Carolyn Moehling
  • Gregory N. Price

Abstract

This paper considers the extent to which crime in early America was conditioned on height. With data on inmates incarcerated in Pennsylvania state penitentiaries between 1826 and 1876, we estimate the parameters of Wiebull proportional hazard specifications of the individual crime hazard. Our results reveal that, consistent with a theory in which height can be a source of labor market disadvantage, criminals in early America were shorter than the average American, and individual crime hazards decreased in height.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15945.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
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Publication status: published as Howard Bodenhorn & Carolyn Moehling & Gregory N. Price, 2012. "Short Criminals: Stature and Crime in Early America," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 393 - 419.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15945

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  1. McEvoy, Brian P. & Visscher, Peter M., 2009. "Genetics of human height," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 294-306, December.
  2. Richard H. Steckel, 2008. "Heights and Human Welfare: Recent Developments and New Directions," NBER Working Papers 14536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Witte, Ann Dryden, 1980. "Estimating the Economic Model of Crime with Individual Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 57-84, February.
  4. Susan Averett & Sanders Korenman, 1996. "The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 304-330.
  5. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  6. Arthur H. Goldsmith & Darrick Hamilton & William Darity Jr, 2006. "Shades of Discrimination: Skin Tone and Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 242-245, May.
  7. Thomas, D. & Strauss, J., 1990. "Prices, Infrastructure, Household Charasteristics And Child Height," Papers 602, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  8. Andreas Wienke, 2003. "Frailty models," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2003-032, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  9. Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2003. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height," PIER Working Paper Archive 03-036, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  10. Michael Kortt & Andrew Leigh, 2010. "Does Size Matter in Australia?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 86(272), pages 71-83, 03.
  11. Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1988. "Economic Duration Data and Hazard Functions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 646-79, June.
  12. Rees, Daniel I. & Sabia, Joseph J. & Argys, Laura M., 2009. "A head above the rest: Height and adolescent psychological well-being," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 217-228, July.
  13. 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.
  14. Arthur H. Goldsmith & Darrick Hamilton & William Darity, Jr, 2007. "From Dark to Light: Skin Color and Wages Among African-Americans," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(4).
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Cited by:
  1. Bodenhorn, Howard & Guinnane, Timothy W. & Mroz, Thomas A., 2013. "Problems of Sample-Selection Bias in the Historical Heights Literature: A Theoretical and Econometric Analysis," Working Papers 114, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  2. Alan Fernihough & McGovern, Mark E., 2014. "Physical Stature Decline and the Health Status of the Elderly Population in England," Working Paper 143351, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  3. Böckerman, Petri & Johansson, Edvard & Kiiskinen, Urpo & Heliövaara, Markku, 2010. "The relationship between physical work and the height premium: Finnish evidence," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 414-420, December.
  4. Howard Bodenhorn & Timothy Guinnane & Thomas Mroz, 2014. "Caveat Lector: Sample Selection in Historical Heights and the Interpretation of Early Industrializing Economies," NBER Working Papers 19955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Price, Gregory N., 2013. "The allometry of metabolism and stature: Worker fatigue and height in the Tanzanian labor market," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 515-521.

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