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Agricultural specialization and height in ancient and medieval Europe

  • Koepke, Nikola
  • Baten, Joerg

Land per capita was one important determinant of height in the Malthusian world 0 to 1800 A.D. A second factor was specialization in milk cattle agriculture. It had two positive effects on human stature: first, proximity to protein production resulted in a very low local shadow price of milk, as this important foodstuff could not be transported easily. Second, this low price resulted in a low inequality of nutritional status, whereas, for example, tradable pork contributed to nutritional inequality. For this study, we used a data set of more than two million animal bones to measure specialization in cattle and its impact on stature.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Explorations in Economic History.

Volume (Year): 45 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 127-146

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Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:45:y:2008:i:2:p:127-146
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622830

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  1. Komlos, John & Hau, Michel & Bourginat, Nicolas, 2003. "An Anthropometric History of Early-Modern France," Discussion Papers in Economics 54, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Robert C. Allen, 2003. "Progress and poverty in early modern Europe," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 56(3), pages 403-443, 08.
  3. Köpke, Nikola & Baten, Jörg, 2003. "The biological standard of living in Europe during the last two millennia," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 265, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
  4. Baten, Jörg & Komlos, John, 1998. "Height and the Standard of Living," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 866-870, September.
  5. Richard H. Steckel, 1995. "Stature and the Standard of Living," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1903-1940, December.
  6. Baten, Jorg & Murray, John E., 2000. "Heights of Men and Women in 19th-Century Bavaria: Economic, Nutritional, and Disease Influences," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 351-369, October.
  7. John Komlos, 1989. "Nutrition and Economic Development in the Eighteenth-Century Habsburg Monarchy: An Anthropometric History," Books by John Komlos, Department of Economics, University of Munich, number 2, Jul-Oct.
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