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Inequality and biological welfare during the mining boom: Rio Tinto, 1836-1935


  • Jose Miguel Martínez-Carrión

    (Universidad de Murcia, Murcia, Spain)

  • Miguel Á. Pérez de Perceval Verde

    () (Universidad de Murcia, Murcia, Spain)

  • Ángel Pascual Martínez Soto

    () (Universidad de Murcia, Murcia, Spain)


This paper explores the impact of the mining boom in the biological standard of living and inequality in Rio Tinto, the main copper basin of Spain and one of the largest in the world. We use data height of military recruits in two municipalities: Zalamea Real and Nerva between 1856 and 1935 (1836-1914 cohorts). The results show that the height deteriorated in the 1850-1870 cohorts and increased inequality, seeing themselves affected adolescents from 1870 to 1890, when the British firm took its biggest push. During the mining fever and heavy immigration, the cohorts of the late nineteenth century increased the height, but the gap between natives and immigrants and among illiterate and literate also widened. The height of the cohorts of the early twentieth century stagnated due to the business downturn following the increase of competitiveness.

Suggested Citation

  • Jose Miguel Martínez-Carrión & Miguel Á. Pérez de Perceval Verde & Ángel Pascual Martínez Soto, 2014. "Inequality and biological welfare during the mining boom: Rio Tinto, 1836-1935," Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) 1401, Asociacion Espa–ola de Historia Economica.
  • Handle: RePEc:ahe:dtaehe:1401

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Floud,Roderick & Fogel,Robert W. & Harris,Bernard & Hong,Sok Chul, 2011. "The Changing Body," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521705615, March.
      • Floud,Roderick & Fogel,Robert W. & Harris,Bernard & Hong,Sok Chul, 2011. "The Changing Body," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521879750, March.
    2. Roderick Floud & Robert W. Fogel & Bernard Harris & Sok Chul Hong, 2011. "The Changing Body: Health, Nutrition, and Human Development in the Western World since 1700," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number foge10-1, January.
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    More about this item


    Biological welfare; mining; Río Tinto; inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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