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Height and living standards in North Korea, 1930s–1980s

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  • SUNYOUNG PAK
  • DANIEL SCHWEKENDIEK
  • HEE KYOUNG KIM

Abstract

The adult stature of 6,512 North Korean refugees born from the 1930s to the 1980s was employed as an indicator of living standards in North Korea. The height of North Koreans born before the division of the Korean Peninsula exceeded that of their South Korean peers. All North Korean cohorts born thereafter were shorter than their South Korean counterparts. North Koreans did not experience a meaningful secular increase in height during 60 years of communism. A consistent and positive effect of about 1–2 cm for high educational status was found when height was regressed on birth decades, education, regional origin, and occupation.

Suggested Citation

  • Sunyoung Pak & Daniel Schwekendiek & Hee Kyoung Kim, 2011. "Height and living standards in North Korea, 1930s–1980s," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 64(s1), pages 142-158, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ehsrev:v:64:y:2011:i:s1:p:142-158
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1468-0289.2009.00509.x
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    Cited by:

    1. Jun, Seong Ho & Lewis, James B. & Schwekendiek, Daniel, 2017. "The biological standard of living in pre-modern Korea: Determinants of height of militia recruits during the Chosŏn dynasty," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 104-110.
    2. Robert Rudolf, 2012. "Rural Reforms, Agricultural Productivity, and the Biological Standard of Living in South Korea, 1941-1974," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 106, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    3. Grundy, John & Hoban, Elizabeth & Allender, Steve & Annear, Peter, 2014. "The inter-section of political history and health policy in Asia – The historical foundations for health policy analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 150-159.
    4. Kitae Sohn, 2015. "A World Record in the Improvement in Biological Standards of Living in Korea: Evidence from Age at Menarche," CEH Discussion Papers 037, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.

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