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On estimators for truncated height samples


  • Jacobs, Jan
  • Katzur, Tomek
  • Tassenaar, Vincent


Statistical inference from truncated height data is often based on distributional assumptions. In this paper we analyze a data set of over 23,000 conscript height observations, covering nearly all conscripts in Drenthe, a province of the Netherlands, over the period 1826-1860. The data do not satisfy the normality assumption. We demonstrate that the ML estimators of the mean proposed for normally distributed data do not yield satisfactory results. We propose a new estimator that exploits the relationship between the conditional mean of the observations above the minimum height requirement and the conditional mean and proportion of conscripts below the minimum height requirement.

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  • Jacobs, Jan & Katzur, Tomek & Tassenaar, Vincent, 2008. "On estimators for truncated height samples," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 43-56, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:6:y:2008:i:1:p:43-56

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. A'Hearn, Brian & Komlos, John, 2003. "Improvements in Maximum Likelihood Estimators of Truncated Normal Samples with Prior Knowledge of σ," Discussion Papers in Economics 51, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    2. Komlos, John, 1998. "Shrinking in a Growing Economy? The Mystery of Physical Stature during the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 779-802, September.
    3. Jarque, Carlos M. & Bera, Anil K., 1980. "Efficient tests for normality, homoscedasticity and serial independence of regression residuals," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 255-259.
    4. Richard H. Steckel, 1995. "Stature and the Standard of Living," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1903-1940, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Akachi, Yoko & Canning, David, 2010. "Health trends in Sub-Saharan Africa: Conflicting evidence from infant mortality rates and adult heights," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 273-288, July.

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