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New anthropometric evidence on living standards in nineteenth-century Chile

Author

Listed:
  • Llorca-Jaña, Manuel
  • Clarke, Damian
  • Navarrete-Montalvo, Juan
  • Araya-Valenzuela, Roberto
  • Allende, Martina

Abstract

A sample of over 44 thousand Chilean marines was used to estimate the trend of mean heights from the 1820s to the 1890s. We confirm that there was height stagnation in the last decades of the nineteenth-century Chile despite sizeable per capita GDP growth; there were hidden nutritional costs to this economic growth. This situation resembles a similar puzzle in antebellum USA or early industrial Britain, but in the case of Chile GDP growth is not explained by industrialization but by export-led-growth. Still, the results are similar: height stagnation. Regarding the determinants of adult male height, our data also convincingly showed that there was a significant correlation between height and literacy. There was a positive correlation between height and white ethnicity, and, linked to this, a strong negative correlation between stature and eyes reported as “black”. Finally, living in urban environments (or environments with higher population density) also negatively affected height.

Suggested Citation

  • Llorca-Jaña, Manuel & Clarke, Damian & Navarrete-Montalvo, Juan & Araya-Valenzuela, Roberto & Allende, Martina, 2020. "New anthropometric evidence on living standards in nineteenth-century Chile," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 36(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:36:y:2020:i:c:s1570677x19300267
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2019.100819
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Height; Chile; Navy; Living conditions; Nineteenth century;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • N36 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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