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Cities, Market Integration and Going to Sea: Stunting and the Standard of Living in Early Nineteenth-Century England and Wales

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  • Jane Humphries
  • Tim Leunig

Abstract

A new source, 1840s Admiralty seamen’s tickets, is used to explore three anthropometric issues. First, did being born in a city, with its associated disamenities, stunt? Second, did being born near a city, whose markets sucked foodstuffs away, stunt? Third, did child labour stunt? Being born in a city stunted although the effect was limited except in the largest cities. In contrast, opportunities to trade did not stunt. Finally although adults who went to sea young were shorter than those who did not enlist until fully grown, going to sea did not stunt. Rather the prospect of plentiful food at sea attracted stunted adolescents, who reversed most of their stunting as a result. But child labour at sea was unique: wages were largely hypothecated to the child as food and shelter, rather than paid in cash that might be spent on other family members.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 2007-W66.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2007
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:2007-w66

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Cited by:
  1. Humphries, Jane & Leunig, Timothy, 2009. "Was Dick Whittington taller than those he left behind? Anthropometric measures, migration and the quality of life in early nineteenth century London?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 120-131, January.
  2. Jane Humphries & Tim Leunig, 2007. "Cities, Market Integration and Going to Sea: Stunting and the Standard of Living in Early Nineteenth-Century England and Wales," Economics Series Working Papers 2007-W66, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Franziska Tollnek & Joerg Baten, 2012. "Farmer Families at the Heart of the Educational Revolution: Which Occupational Group Inherited Human Capital in the Early Modern Era?," Working Papers 0033, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  4. Steckel, Richard H., 2009. "Heights and human welfare: Recent developments and new directions," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-23, January.
  5. James Malcomson & Martin Chalkley, 2001. "Cost Sharing in Health Service Provision: An Empirical Assessment of Cost Savings," Economics Series Working Papers 69, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

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