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Living standards in Black and White: Evidence from the heights of Ohio Prison inmates, 1829-1913

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  • Maloney, Thomas N.
  • Carson, Scott Alan

Abstract

The use of height data to measure living standards is now a well-established method in the economic history literature. Moreover, a number of core findings are widely agreed upon. There are still some populations, places, and times, however, for which anthropometric evidence remains limited. One such example is 19th century African-Americans in the Northern US. Here, we use new data from the Ohio state prison to track heights of Black and White men incarcerated between 1829 and 1913. We corroborate the well-known mid-century height decline among White men. We find that Black men were shorter than White men, throughout the century controlling for a number of characteristics. We also find a pattern of height decline among Black men in mid-century similar to that found for White men.

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  • Maloney, Thomas N. & Carson, Scott Alan, 2008. "Living standards in Black and White: Evidence from the heights of Ohio Prison inmates, 1829-1913," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 237-251, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:6:y:2008:i:2:p:237-251
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    Cited by:

    1. Bodenhorn, Howard & Guinnane, Timothy W. & Mroz, Thomas A., 2017. "Sample-Selection Biases and the Industrialization Puzzle," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 77(01), pages 171-207, March.
    2. Dobado-González, Rafael & Garcia-Hiernaux, Alfredo, 2017. "Two worlds apart: Determinants of height in late 18th century central Mexico," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 153-163.
    3. Howard Bodenhorn & Carolyn Moehling & Gregory N. Price, 2012. "Short Criminals: Stature and Crime in Early America," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 393-419.
    4. Howard Bodenhorn & Timothy Guinnane & Thomas Mroz, 2014. "Caveat Lector: Sample Selection in Historical Heights and the Interpretation of Early Industrializing Economies," NBER Working Papers 19955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:26:y:2017:i:c:p:126-136 is not listed on IDEAS

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