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The heights of French-Canadian convicts, 1780s–1820s

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  • Arsenault Morin, Alex
  • Geloso, Vincent
  • Kufenko, Vadim

Abstract

This paper uses a novel dataset of heights collected from the records of the Quebec City prison between 1813 and 1847 to survey the French-Canadian population of Quebec—which was then known either as Lower Canada or Canada East. Using a birth-cohort approach with 10year birth cohorts from the 1780s to the 1820s, we find that French-Canadian prisoners grew shorter over the period. Through the whole sample period, they were short compared to Americans. However, French-Canadians were taller either than their cousins in France or the inhabitants of Latin America (except Argentinians). In addition to extending anthropometric data in Canada to the 1780s, we are able to extend comparisons between the Old and New Worlds as well as comparisons between North America and Latin America. We highlight the key structural economic changes and shocks and discuss their possible impact on the anthropometric data.

Suggested Citation

  • Arsenault Morin, Alex & Geloso, Vincent & Kufenko, Vadim, 2017. "The heights of French-Canadian convicts, 1780s–1820s," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 126-136.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:26:y:2017:i:c:p:126-136
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2017.03.002
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Canadian economic history; Anthropometric history; Biological living standard;

    JEL classification:

    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality

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