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On the Biological Standard of Living of Eighteenth-Century Americans: Taller, Richer, Healthier

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  • John Komlos

    (The Institute of Economic History, Department of Economics, University of Munich)

Abstract

Based on the height data of 18th-century American soldiers the inference is warranted that Americans were taller than Europeans, and the wedge widened during the course of the century.

Suggested Citation

  • John Komlos, "undated". "On the Biological Standard of Living of Eighteenth-Century Americans: Taller, Richer, Healthier," Articles by John Komlos 3, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehb:komart:3
    Note: Data has been deposited in ICPSR data archive, no. 02959.
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    File URL: http://www.vwl.uni-muenchen.de/ls_komlos/h-usa.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Komlos, 1993. "The secular trend in the biological standard of living in the United Kingdom, 1730-1860," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 46(1), pages 115-144, February.
    2. Dora Costa & Richard H. Steckel, 1997. "Long-Term Trends in Health, Welfare, and Economic Growth in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Health and Welfare during Industrialization, pages 47-90, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. John Komlos, 1994. "Stature, Living Standards, and Economic Development: Essays in Anthropometric History," Books by John Komlos, Department of Economics, University of Munich, number 11, June.
    4. John Komlos, "undated". "Height and Social Status in Eighteenth-Century Germany," Articles by John Komlos 27, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
    5. Parsons, Donald O & Goldin, Claudia, 1989. "Parental Altruism and Self-Interest: Child Labor among Late Nineteenth-Century American Families," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(4), pages 637-659, October.
    6. Richard H. Steckel, 1995. "Percentiles of Modern Height Standards for Use in Historical Research," NBER Historical Working Papers 0075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Mancall, Peter C. & Weiss, Thomas, 1999. "Was Ecomomic Growth Likely in Colonial British North America?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 17-40, March.
    8. John Komlos & Joo Han Kim, "undated". "Estimating Trends in Historical Heights," Articles by John Komlos 25, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
    9. Chung, Ching-Fan & Goldberger, Arthur S, 1984. "Proportional Projections in Limited Dependent Variable Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 531-534, March.
    10. Steckel, Richard H., 1979. "Slave height profiles from coastwise manifests," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 363-380, October.
    11. Andrew Chesher, 1997. "Diet Revealed?: Semiparametric Estimation of Nutrient Intake–Age Relationships," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 160(3), pages 389-428, September.
    12. Robert W. Fogel, 1986. "Nutrition and the Decline in Mortality since 1700: Some Preliminary Findings," NBER Chapters, in: Long-Term Factors in American Economic Growth, pages 439-556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Egnal, Marc, 1998. "New World Economies: The Growth of the Thirteen Colonies and Early Canada," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195114829, Decembrie.
    14. Stanley L. Engerman & Robert E. Gallman, 1986. "Long-Term Factors in American Economic Growth," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number enge86-1, July.
    15. John Komlos, "undated". "Shrinking in a Growing Economy? The Mystery of Physical Stature during the Industrial Revolution," Articles by John Komlos 7, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
    16. John Komlos, 1995. "The Biological Standard of Living on Three Continents: Further Essays in Anthropometric History," Books by John Komlos, Department of Economics, University of Munich, number 10, June.
    17. Hamilton, Gillian, 2000. "The Decline of Apprenticeship in North America: Evidence from Monetreal," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 627-664, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Komlos, John & Baur, Marieluise, 2004. "From the tallest to (one of) the fattest: the enigmatic fate of the American population in the 20th century," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 57-74, March.
    2. Rosenbloom, Joshua L. & Weiss, Thomas, 2014. "Economic growth in the Mid-Atlantic region: Conjectural estimates for 1720 to 1800," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 41-59.
    3. Adolfo Meisel-Roca & María Teresa Ramírez-Giraldo & Daniela Santos-Cárdenas, 2018. "Socioeconomic Determinants and Spatial Convergence of Biological Well-being: The Case of Physical Stature in Colombia, 1920-1990," Borradores de Economia 1053, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    4. de Beer, Hans, 2016. "The biological standard of living in Suriname, c. 1870–1975," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 140-154.
    5. 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.
    6. Steckel, Richard H., 2009. "Heights and human welfare: Recent developments and new directions," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-23, January.
    7. Meisel-Roca, Adolfo & Ramírez-Giraldo, María Teresa & Santos-Cárdenas, Daniela, 2019. "Long run relationship between biological well being, and economic development in Colombia," Working papers 24, Red Investigadores de Economía.
    8. Adolfo Meisel-Roca & María Teresa Ramírez-Giraldo & Daniel Lasso-Jaramillo, 2023. "Gender height dimorphism: An approximation of the living Standards in Colombia, 1920-1990," Investigaciones de Historia Económica - Economic History Research (IHE-EHR), Journal of the Spanish Economic History Association, Asociación Española de Historia Económica, vol. 19(02), pages 124-139.
    9. Komlos, John & Baten, Jörg, 2003. "Looking Backward and Looking Forward: Anthropometric Research and the Development of Social Science History," Discussion Papers in Economics 59, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    10. Tatarek, Nancy E., 2006. "Geographical height variation among Ohio Caucasian male convicts born 1780-1849," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 222-236, June.
    11. 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.
    12. Komlos, John & Cinnirella, Francesco, 2005. "European Heights in the Early 18th Century," Discussion Papers in Economics 572, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    13. Marein, Brian, 2020. "Economic development in Puerto Rico after US annexation: Anthropometric evidence," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 38(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Anthropometrics; Living Standards; 18th Century; colonial US;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N11 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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