IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/auu/hpaper/051.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Atmospheric Pollution and Child Health in Late Nineteenth Century Britain

Author

Listed:
  • Roy E. Bailey
  • Timothy J. Hatton
  • Kris Inwood

Abstract

Atmospheric pollution was an important side effect of coal-fired industrialisation in the nineteenth century. In Britain emissions of black smoke were on the order of fifty times as high as they were a century later. In this paper we examine the effects of these emissions on child development by analysing the heights on enlistment during the First World War of men born in England and Wales in the 1890s. We use the occupational structure to measure the coal intensity of the districts in which these men were observed as children in the 1901 census. We find strong negative effects of coal intensity on height, which amounts to difference of almost an inch between the most and least polluted localities. These results are robust to a variety of specification tests and they are consistent with the notion that the key channel of influence on height was via respiratory infection. The subsequent reduction of emissions from coal combustion is one factor contributing to the improvement in health (and the increase in height) during the twentieth century.

Suggested Citation

  • Roy E. Bailey & Timothy J. Hatton & Kris Inwood, 2016. "Atmospheric Pollution and Child Health in Late Nineteenth Century Britain," CEH Discussion Papers 052, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:hpaper:051
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/ceh/WP201609.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1992. "Employment Effects of Minimum and Subminimum Wages: Panel Data on State Minimum Wage Laws," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 55-81, October.
    2. Seltzer, Andrew J., 1997. "The Effects of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 on the Southern Seamless Hosiery and Lumber Industries," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 396-415, June.
    3. Bhaskar, V & To, Ted, 1999. "Minimum Wages for Ronald McDonald Monopsonies: A Theory of Monopsonistic Competition," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 190-203, April.
    4. Brown, Charles & Gilroy, Curtis & Kohen, Andrew, 1982. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 487-528, June.
    5. Richard Dickens & Rebecca Riley & David Wilkinson, 2015. "A Re-examination of the Impact of the UK National Minimum Wage on Employment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 82(328), pages 841-864, October.
    6. John Kennan, 1995. "The Elusive Effects of Minimum Wages," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1950-1965, December.
    7. Mark B. Stewart, 2004. "The Impact of the Introduction of the U.K. Minimum Wage on the Employment Probabilities of Low-Wage Workers," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(1), pages 67-97, March.
    8. Dickens, Richard & Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan, 1999. "The Effects of Minimum Wages on Employment: Theory and Evidence from Britain," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 1-22, January.
    9. ., 2014. "Labour markets," Chapters, in: Public Policy and Professional Sports, chapter 3, pages 40-68, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Edward M. Gramlich, 1976. "Impact of Minimum Wages on Other Wages, Employment, and Family Incomes," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 7(2), pages 409-462.
    11. Huberman, Michael & Meissner, Christopher M., 2010. "Riding the Wave of Trade: The Rise of Labor Regulation in the Golden Age of Globalization," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 657-685, September.
    12. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 772-793, September.
    13. Ashenfelter, Orley & Smith, Robert S, 1979. "Compliance with the Minimum Wage Law," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 333-350, April.
    14. Sylvia A. Allegretto & Arindrajit Dube & Michael Reich, 2011. "Do Minimum Wages Really Reduce Teen Employment? Accounting for Heterogeneity and Selectivity in State Panel Data," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 205-240, April.
    15. Sidney Webb, 1912. "The Economic Theory of a Legal Minimum Wage," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20, pages 973-973.
    16. David Neumark & JM Salas & William Wascher, 2014. "More on recent evidence on the effects of minimum wages in the United States," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-26, December.
    17. Ian W. McLean & Stephen J. Woodland, 1992. "Consumer Prices in Australia 1850-1914," School of Economics Working Papers 1992-04, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
    18. Alan Manning & Ted To, 2002. "Oligopsony and Monopsonistic Competition in Labor Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 155-174, Spring.
    19. Charles Brown & Curtis Gilroy & Andrew Kohen, 1982. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 0846, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Mark B. Stewart & Joanna K. Swaffield, 2008. "The Other Margin: Do Minimum Wages Cause Working Hours Adjustments for Low‐Wage Workers?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(297), pages 148-167, February.
    21. Zavodny, Madeline, 2000. "The effect of the minimum wage on employment and hours," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(6), pages 729-750, November.
    22. Connolly, Sara & Gregory, Mary, 2002. "The National Minimum Wage and Hours of Work: Implications for Low Paid Women," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(0), pages 607-631, Supplemen.
    23. Joe Isaac, 2008. "The Economic Consequences Of Harvester," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 48(3), pages 280-300, November.
    24. David N.F. Bell & David G. Blanchflower, 2014. "Labour Market Slack in the UK," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 229(1), pages 4-11, August.
    25. David Neumark & William L. Wascher, 2008. "Minimum Wages," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262141027, December.
    26. Arindrajit Dube & T. William Lester & Michael Reich, 2010. "Minimum Wage Effects Across State Borders: Estimates Using Contiguous Counties," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 945-964, November.
    27. Stephen Machin & Alan Manning, 1994. "The Effects of Minimum Wages on Wage Dispersion and Employment: Evidence from the U.K. Wages Councils," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(2), pages 319-329, January.
    28. Kenneth A. Couch & David C. Wittenburg, 2001. "The Response of Hours of Work to Increases in the Minimum Wage," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(1), pages 171-177, July.
    29. David Neumark & J. M. Ian Salas & William Wascher, 2014. "Revisiting the Minimum Wage—Employment Debate: Throwing Out the Baby with the Bathwater?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 67(3_suppl), pages 608-648, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Schneider, Eric B. & Ogasawara, Kota, 2018. "Disease and child growth in industrialising Japan: Critical windows and the growth pattern, 1917–39," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 64-80.
    2. Walker Hanlon, 2018. "London fog: A century of pollution and mortality, 1866-1965," Working Papers 18019, Economic History Society.
    3. Schneider, Eric B. & Ogasawara, Kota, 2017. "Disease and child growth in industrialising Japan: assessing instantaneous changes in growth and changes in the growth pattern, 1911-39," Economic History Working Papers 84066, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    atmospheric pollution; health and height; 19th century Britain;

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:auu:hpaper:051. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/chanuau.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.