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Demographic, Residential, and Socioeconomic Effects on the Distribution of 19th Century US White Statures

  • Scott A. Carson
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    Using a source of 19th century US state prison records, this study addresses European-American stature variation. The most commonly cited sources for stature variation are diets, disease, and work effort. However, vitamin D is also vital in human statures and health. This paper demonstrates that 19th century white statures were positively associated with direct sunlight, which is the primary source of vitamin D in mammals. Stature and insolation are associated with occupations, and workers who spent more time outdoors produced more vitamin D and grew taller. White statures also decreased throughout the 19th century, and this stature diminution is observed across the stature distribution.

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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2009/wp-cesifo-2009-02/cesifo1_wp2563.pdf
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    Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2563.

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    Date of creation: 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2563
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    2. 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.
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    5. Bodenhorn, Howard, 1999. "A Troublesome Caste: Height and Nutrition of Antebellum Virginia's Rural Free Blacks," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(04), pages 972-996, December.
    6. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
    7. Steckel, Richard H., 1979. "Slave height profiles from coastwise manifests," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 363-380, October.
    8. Metzer, Jacob, 1975. "Rational management, modern business practices, and economies of scale in the ante-bellum southern plantations," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 123-150, April.
    9. Carson, Scott Alan, 2008. "The Effect of Geography and Vitamin D on African American Stature in the Nineteenth Century: Evidence from Prison Records," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(03), pages 812-831, September.
    10. A'Hearn, Brian, 2004. "A restricted maximum likelihood estimator for truncated height samples," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 5-19, March.
    11. John Komlos, 1992. "Toward an Anthropometric History of African-Americans: The Case of the Free Blacks in Antebellum Maryland," NBER Chapters, in: Strategic Factors in Nineteenth Century American Economic History: A Volume to Honor Robert W. Fogel, pages 297-329 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Komlos, John & Coclanis, Peter, 1997. "On the Puzzling Cycle in the Biological Standard of Living: The Case of Antebellum Georgia," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 433-459, October.
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