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The biological standard of living and body height in colonial and post-colonial Indonesia, 1770–2000

Listed author(s):
  • Jörg Baten

    ()

  • Mojgan Stegl

    ()

  • Pierre Eng

    ()

How did the biological standard of living develop in Indonesia during colonial times? Did it increase substantially after decolonization? In our study, we use four sets of anthropometric data to construct time series of average human height since the 1770s. The paper observes a significant decline in heights in the 1870s, followed by only modest recovery during the next three decades, both of which are related to a sequence of disasters. Average heights increased from the 1900s and accelerated after World War II. The World Economic Crisis, the Japanese occupation and the war of independence in the 1930s and 1940s constituted a difficult period. Average height growth thereafter is related to improvements in food supply and the disease environment, particularly hygiene and medical care. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2013

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10818-012-9144-2
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Bioeconomics.

Volume (Year): 15 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
Pages: 103-122

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jbioec:v:15:y:2013:i:2:p:103-122
DOI: 10.1007/s10818-012-9144-2
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Order Information: Web: http://www.springer.com/economics/environmental/journal/10818/PS2

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  1. Moradi, Alexander, 2009. "Towards an Objective Account of Nutrition and Health in Colonial Kenya: A Study of Stature in African Army Recruits and Civilians, 1880–1980," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(03), pages 719-754, September.
  2. Koepke, Nikola & Baten, Joerg, 2008. "Agricultural specialization and height in ancient and medieval Europe," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 127-146, April.
  3. Sharon Maccini & Dean Yang, 2009. "Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Economic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 1006-1026, June.
  4. Gareth Austin & Joerg Baten & Bas Van Leeuwen, 2012. "The biological standard of living in early nineteenth-century West Africa: new anthropometric evidence for northern Ghana and Burkina Faso," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 65(4), pages 1280-1302, November.
  5. Van Zanden, Jan Luiten, 2004. "On the Efficiency of Markets for Agricultural Products: Rice Prices and Capital Markets in Java, 1823 1853," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(04), pages 1028-1055, December.
  6. Koepke, Nikola & Baten, Joerg, 2005. "The biological standard of living in Europe during the last two millennia," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(01), pages 61-95, April.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
  8. Leigh, Andrew & van der Eng, Pierre, 2009. "Inequality in Indonesia: What can we learn from top incomes?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 209-212, February.
  9. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  10. Joseph M. Prince & Richard H. Steckel, 2001. "Tallest in the World: Native Americans of the Great Plains in the Nineteenth Century," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 287-294, March.
  11. John Komlos, 2003. "Access to Food and the Biological Standard of Living: Perspectives on the Nutritional Status of Native Americans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 252-255, March.
  12. Wolff, François-Charles & Maliki, 2008. "Evidence on the impact of child labor on child health in Indonesia, 1993-2000," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 143-169, March.
  13. Guntupalli, Aravinda Meera & Baten, Joerg, 2006. "The development and inequality of heights in North, West, and East India 1915-1944," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 578-608, October.
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