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Upward and onward: High-society American women eluded the antebellum puzzle

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  • Sunder, Marco

Abstract

We analyze archival evidence on the physical stature of 19th-century female US passport applicants. Heights in this group increased markedly at a time when the rest of the population was becoming shorter. While diseases may have affected the physical stature of everyone in the society, the fact that the height of elite women did not decline (and even increased) suggests that their families were wealthy enough to shield them completely from rising price of nutrients.

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  • Sunder, Marco, 2011. "Upward and onward: High-society American women eluded the antebellum puzzle," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 165-171, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:9:y:2011:i:2:p:165-171
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    Cited by:

    1. Koepke, Nikola & Floris, Joël & Pfister, Christian & Rühli, Frank J. & Staub, Kaspar, 2018. "Ladies first: Female and male adult height in Switzerland, 1770–1930," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 76-87.
    2. Staub, Kaspar & Rühli, Frank J. & Bogin, Barry & Woitek, Ulrich & Pfister, Christian, 2011. "Edouard Mallet's early and almost forgotten study of the average height of Genevan conscripts in 1835," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 438-442.
    3. Matthias Blum, 2013. "War, food rationing, and socioeconomic inequality in Germany during the First World War," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 66(4), pages 1063-1083, November.
    4. Komlos, John, 2012. "A Three-Decade “Kuhnian” History of the Antebellum Puzzle: Explaining the shrinking of the US population at the onset of modern economic growth," Discussion Papers in Economics 12758, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    5. Sunder, Marco, 2013. "The height gap in 19th-century America: Net-nutritional advantage of the elite increased at the onset of modern economic growth," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 245-258.
    6. Komlos, John & A’Hearn, Brian, 2017. "Hidden negative aspects of industrialization at the onset of modern economic growth in the U.S," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 43-52.
    7. Yoo, Dongwoo, 2012. "Height and death in the Antebellum United States: A view through the lens of geographically weighted regression," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 43-53.
    8. Brian A'Hearn & John Komlos, 2015. "The Decline in the Nutritional Status of the U.S. Antebellum Population at the Onset of Modern Economic Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 5691, CESifo.
    9. Komlos, John, 2019. "Shrinking in a growing economy is not so puzzling after all," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 40-55.

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