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Child Labour and Height in the early Spanish industrialization


  • José M. Martínez-Carrión

    () (Universidad de Murcia, Madrid, Spain)

  • Javier Puche-Gil

    (Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)

  • José Cañabate-Cabezuelos

    (Universidad de Murcia, Madrid, Spain)


Child labour has been considered a health risk affecting physical growth. Together with income, diets, diseases and environmental hygiene, child labour is one of the determinants of height. This paper examines whether child labour affected the stature of young workers during the spread of industrialization. With military recruitment heights it is analyzed the impact that child labour might have on physical health and nutritional status. After reporting on what happened during the Industrial Revolution in Britain, France and other industrialized countries, it is highlighted the contribution made by Spanish hygienists, whose importance has increased since the 1880´s. The following sections provide results of height evolution at the beginning of Spanish industrialization in major industrial and mining districts. Our findings emphasize the stature deterioration resulting from child labour, and the remarkable role that anthropometric history plays within economic and social history, and labour history too.

Suggested Citation

  • José M. Martínez-Carrión & Javier Puche-Gil & José Cañabate-Cabezuelos, 2013. "Child Labour and Height in the early Spanish industrialization," Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) 1306, Asociacion Espa–ola de Historia Economica.
  • Handle: RePEc:ahe:dtaehe:1306

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    Child labour; height; health; nutrition; labour productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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