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Towards an Objective Account of Nutrition and Health in Colonial Kenya: A Study of Stature in African Army Recruits and Civilians, 1880-190

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  • Alexander Moradi

Abstract

How well did Kenyans do under colonial rule?� It is common sense that Kenyans suffered under exploitative colonial policies.� The overall impact, however, is uncertain.� This study presents fresh evidence on nutrition and health in colonial Kenya by (1) using a new and comprehensive data set of African army recruits and civilians and (2) applying a powerful measure of nutritional status: mean population height.� Findings demonstrate huge regional inequalities but only minor changes in the mean height of cohorts born 20 years before and after colonisation.� From 1920 onwards secular improvements took place which continued after Independence.� It can be concluded that however bad colonial policies and devastating short term crises were, the net outcome of colonial times was a significant progress in nutrition and health.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/2008-04.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2008
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/2008-04

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Keywords: Nutrition; Health; Anthropometrics; Inequality; Colonial; Kenya;

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  1. Richard H. Steckel, 1995. "Stature and the Standard of Living," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1903-1940, December.
  2. Guntupalli, Aravinda Meera & Baten, Joerg, 2006. "The development and inequality of heights in North, West, and East India 1915-1944," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 578-608, October.
  3. Paul Mosley, 1982. "Agricultural Development and Government Policy in Settler Economies: The Case of Kenya and Southern Rhodesia, 1900–60," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, Economic History Society, vol. 35(3), pages 390-408, 08.
  4. Chaiken, Miriam S., 1998. "Primary Health Care initiatives in colonial Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 26(9), pages 1701-1717, September.
  5. Meisel, Adolfo & Vega, Margarita, 2007. "The biological standard of living (and its convergence) in Colombia, 1870-2003: A tropical success story," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 100-122, March.
  6. Lopez-Alonso, Moramay & Condey, Raul Porras, 2003. "The ups and downs of Mexican economic growth: the biological standard of living and inequality, 1870-1950," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 169-186, June.
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