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The relationship between height and economic development in Spain, 1850-1958

  • María-Dolores, Ramón
  • Martínez-Carrión, José Miguel

We investigate the relationship between height and some economic-development indicators in modern Spain by means of a recently constructed times series of data on conscripts. We estimate a Vector Autoregressive Equilibrium Correction Model (VECqM) to quantify the height and GDP per capita response to various living-standard indicators. We observe that conditions that perpetuate an elevated level of sickness and mortality and that raise the relative price of consumption goods tend to impede human growth, as reflected in a decline in average adult height, whereas factors that promote the purchase of health services and that help to open up the economy to international trade and ideas have tended to have an opposite effect from the 1850s onward. Our results also indicate that neither the level of per capita GDP nor its growth rate has a unidirectional relation to various measures of living standards, chiefly adult stature. Instead, our findings suggest that there may be behavioral factors (e.g., emphasis on health services), political factors (e.g., degree of openness), and economic factors (e.g., relative consumer costs to GDP deflator) whose affects may have been influenced the level of GDP, over the sample period.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics & Human Biology.

Volume (Year): 9 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 30-44

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:9:y:2011:i:1:p:30-44
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