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Infant Mortality and the Health of Survivors: Britain 1910-1950


  • Hatton, Timothy J.


The first half of the twentieth century saw rapid improvements in the health and height of British children. Average height and health can be related to infant mortality through a positive selection effect and a negative scarring effect. Examining town-level panel data on the heights of school children I find no evidence for the selection effect but some support for the scarring effect. The results suggest that the improvement in the disease environment, as reflected by the decline in infant mortality, increased average height by about half a centimeter per decade in the first half of the twentieth century.

Suggested Citation

  • Hatton, Timothy J., 2010. "Infant Mortality and the Health of Survivors: Britain 1910-1950," CEPR Discussion Papers 7841, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7841

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    Cited by:

    1. Bailey, Roy E. & Hatton, Timothy J. & Inwood, Kris, 2014. "Health, Height and the Household at the Turn of the 20th Century," IZA Discussion Papers 8128, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. de Beer, Hans, 2016. "The biological standard of living in Suriname, c. 1870–1975," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 140-154.
    3. Bailey, Roy E. & Hatton, Timothy J. & Inwood, Kris, 2016. "Atmospheric Pollution and Child Health in Late Nineteenth Century Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 10428, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Akachi, Yoko & Canning, David, 2015. "Inferring the economic standard of living and health from cohort height: Evidence from modern populations in developing countries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 114-128.
    5. Coffey, Diane, 2015. "Early life mortality and height in Indian states," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 177-189.
    6. Butikofer, Aline & Løken, Katrine & Salvanes, Kjell G, 2016. "Infant Health Care and Long-Term Outcomes," CEPR Discussion Papers 11652, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Hatton, Timothy J. & Martin, Richard M., 2010. "Fertility decline and the heights of children in Britain, 1886-1938," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 505-519, October.
    8. Timothy J. Hatton, 2015. "Stature and Sibship: Historical Evidence," CEH Discussion Papers 039, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    9. Bütikofer, Aline & Loken, Katrine Vellesen & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2015. "Long-Term Consequences of Access to Well-Child Visits," IZA Discussion Papers 9546, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Víctor Hugo de Oliveira Sila & Climent Quintana, 2009. "Infant disease, economic conditions at birth and adult stature in Brazil," Working Papers 2009-33, FEDEA.
    11. Mariano Bosch & Carlos Bozzoli & Climent Quintana, 2009. "Infant mortality, income and adult stature in Spain," Working Papers 2009-27, FEDEA.
    12. Joseph Molitoris, 2017. "Disparities in death: Inequality in cause-specific infant and child mortality in Stockholm, 1878‒1926," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 36(15), pages 455-500, February.
    13. 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


    health in Britain; heights of children; infant mortality;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-


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