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A Quantile Approach to the Relationship between Body Mass, Wealth, and Inequality

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  • Scott A. Carson

Abstract

Little research exists on the historical relationship between BMI variation, wealth, and inequality. This study finds that 19th century US black and white BMIs were distributed symmetrically; neither wasting nor obesity was common. Nineteenth century BMI values were also greater for blacks than whites. There was a positive relationship between 19th century BMIs and average state-level wealth, and an inverse relationship between BMI and wealth inequality. After controlling for wealth and inequality, rural agricultural farmers had greater BMI values than their urban counterparts in other occupations.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott A. Carson, 2010. "A Quantile Approach to the Relationship between Body Mass, Wealth, and Inequality," CESifo Working Paper Series 3288, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3288
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp3288.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 93-118, Summer.
    2. Haines, Michael R. & Craig, Lee A. & Weiss, Thomas, 2003. "The Short and the Dead: Nutrition, Mortality, and the in the United States," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(02), pages 382-413, June.
    3. Richard H. Steckel, 1982. "Height and Per Capita Income," NBER Working Papers 0880, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Fogel, Robert W, 1994. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 369-395, June.
    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. Costa, Dora L., 2004. "The Measure of Man and Older Age Mortality: Evidence from the Gould Sample," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(01), pages 1-23, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    BMI; wealth; inequality; and race;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • N00 - Economic History - - General - - - General

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