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Living Standards In South Africa’s Former Homelands

  • Martine Mariotti


I exploit the sudden increase in employment in 1975, 1976 and 1977 in some former homelands by comparing the long term adult physical outcomes of children benefitting from the employment increase to those not subject to it. Using a standard difference in difference approach I find that there was some malnutrition in the homelands resulting in stunting in African men born during the shock providing support to the foetal origins hypothesis. The employment shock did not affect other long term outcomes such as education and general health, although there is some evidence of an improvement in long term health. This study provides previously unmeasured individual level information on the quality of life in the homelands during apartheid, an era when African living standards were neglected but unmeasured because of a lack of data collection.

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Paper provided by Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics in its series ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics with number 2012-570.

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Length: 54 Pages
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:acb:cbeeco:2012-570
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  1. Ggens, Tue & Meng, Xin & Vaithianathan, Rhema, 2010. "Stunting and Selection Effects of Famine: A Case Study of the Great Chinese Famine," PRIMCED Discussion Paper Series 2, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  2. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie, 2011. "Killing Me Softly: The Fetal Origins Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 153-72, Summer.
  3. Frijters, Paul & Hatton, Timothy J. & Martin, Richard M. & Shields, Michael A., 2010. "Childhood economic conditions and length of life: Evidence from the UK Boyd Orr cohort, 1937-2005," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 39-47, January.
  4. Nicholas, Stephen & Steckel, Richard H., 1991. "Heights and Living Standards of English Workers During the Early Years of Industrializations, 1770–1815," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(04), pages 937-957, December.
  5. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Gilles Postel-Vinay & Tim Watts, 2010. "Long-Run Health Impacts of Income Shocks: Wine and Phylloxera in Nineteenth-Century France," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 714-728, November.
  6. Timothy J. Hatton & Richard M. Martin, 2008. "The Effects on Stature of Poverty, Family Size and Birth Order: British Children in the 1930s," CEPR Discussion Papers 572, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  7. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Hongbin Li & Junsen Zhang, 2007. "Long-Term Effects Of The 1959-1961 China Famine: Mainland China and Hong Kong," NBER Working Papers 13384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. John Komlos, . "The Secular Trend in the Biological Standard of Living in the United Kingdom, 1730-1860," Articles by John Komlos 19, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
  9. Komlos, John, 1987. "The Height and Weight of West Point Cadets: Dietary Change in Antebellum America," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(04), pages 897-927, December.
  10. Richard H. Steckel, 1995. "Stature and the Standard of Living," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1903-1940, December.
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