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A physiological foundation for the nutrition-based efficiency wage model

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  • Carl-Johan Dalgaard
  • Holger Strulik

Abstract

Drawing on recent research on allometric scaling and energy consumption, the present paper develops a nutrition-based efficiency wage model from first principles. The biologically micro-founded model allows us to address empirical criticism of the original nutrition-based efficiency wage model. By extending the model with respect to heterogeneity in worker body size and a physiologically founded impact of body size on productivity, we demonstrate that the nutrition-based efficiency wage model is compatible with the empirical regularity that taller workers simultaneously earn higher wages and are less likely to be unemployed in less developed economies. The theory also provides an answer to the question of why the height-unemployment association may disappear in the process of development. Copyright 2011 Oxford University Press 2010 All rights reserved, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Holger Strulik, 2011. "A physiological foundation for the nutrition-based efficiency wage model," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 232-253, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:63:y:2011:i:2:p:232-253
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/oep/gpq031
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Komlos, John, 2003. "An anthropometric history of early-modern France," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 159-189, August.
    2. Bliss, Christopher & Stern, Nicholas, 1978. "Productivity, wages and nutrition : Part I: the theory," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 331-362, December.
    3. Bliss, Christopher & Stern, Nicholas, 1978. "Productivity, wages and nutrition : Part II: Some observations," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 363-398, December.
    4. Strauss, John, 1986. "Does Better Nutrition Raise Farm Productivity?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(2), pages 297-320, April.
    5. Galor, Oded & Weil, David N, 1996. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 374-387.
    6. Fogel, Robert W, 1994. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 369-395, June.
    7. Dasgupta, Partha, 1997. "Nutritional status, the capacity for work, and poverty traps," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 5-37, March.
    8. Dasgupta, Partha & Ray, Debraj, 1986. "Inequality as a Determinant of Malnutrition and Unemployment: Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(384), pages 1011-1034, December.
    9. Bose, Gautam, 1997. "Nutritional efficiency wages: a policy framework," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 469-478, December.
    10. Solow, Robert M., 1979. "Another possible source of wage stickiness," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 79-82.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Holger Strulik, 2015. "The physiological foundations of the wealth of nations," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 37-73, March.
    2. Prettner, Klaus & Bloom, David E. & Strulik, Holger, 2013. "Declining fertility and economic well-being: Do education and health ride to the rescue?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 70-79.
    3. Price, Gregory N., 2013. "The allometry of metabolism and stature: Worker fatigue and height in the Tanzanian labor market," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 515-521.
    4. Strulik, Holger & Trimborn, Timo, 2014. "Natural disasters and macroeconomic performance: The role of residential investment," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 194 [rev.], University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    5. Kaushal, Kaushalendra Kumar, 2014. "Pathway from nutrition intake to wage among elementary workers in India," MPRA Paper 56652, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Juliet Elu & Gregory Price, 2013. "Ethnicity as a Barrier to Childhood and Adolescent Health Capital in Tanzania: Evidence from the Wage-Height Relationship," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 25(1), pages 1-13.

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