Tall and shrinking Muslims, short and growing Europeans: The long-run welfare development of the Middle East, 1850-1980
In this study we examine anthropometric data for eight countries in the Middle East for the period 1850-1910, and we follow those countries until the 1980s. The Middle East had a relatively good position during the mid-19th century, if human stature or real wages are considered, but much less so in terms of GDP per capita. Initially low population densities allowed better anthropometric outcomes. The height advantage was due, among other factors, to easier access to animal products. All indicators suggest that the Middle East lost ground after the 1870s relative to the industrializing Countries.
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