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Why are Mexican American boys so much taller now?

Author

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  • Delajara, Marcelo
  • Rodríguez-Segura, Melissa

Abstract

Using NHANES data we find that the difference in average height between non-Hispanic White and Mexican American boys of ages 2-14 years has decreased 1.7Â cm on average during the last quarter of the twentieth century in the United States. Our hypothesis is that the narrowing of the height gap is related to a larger gain in maternal height among Mexican Americans in relation to Whites. We estimate a child's height equation and find that on average about 38% of the reduction in the gap for boys of ages 2-5 years is attributed to this factor. The evidence of a secular trend for height is weak for the case of girls.

Suggested Citation

  • Delajara, Marcelo & Rodríguez-Segura, Melissa, 2010. "Why are Mexican American boys so much taller now?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 212-222, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:8:y:2010:i:2:p:212-222
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Komlos, 2009. "Recent Trends in Height by Gender and Ethnicity in the US in Relation to Levels of Income," NBER Working Papers 14635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Cole, T. J., 2003. "The secular trend in human physical growth: a biological view," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 161-168, June.
    3. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    4. Smith, Patricia K. & Bogin, Barry & Varela-Silva, Maria Ines & Loucky, James, 2003. "Economic and anthropological assessments of the health of children in Maya immigrant families in the US," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 145-160, June.
    5. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2006.098418_3 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
    7. Komlos, John, 2010. "The recent decline in the height of African-American women," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 58-66, March.
    8. John Komlos & Benjamin E. Lauderdale, 2007. "Underperformance in Affluence: The Remarkable Relative Decline in U.S. Heights in the Second Half of the 20th Century," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 88(2), pages 283-305.
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