Was Dick Whittington taller than those he left behind?: anthropometric measures, migration and the quality of life in early nineteenth century London
Using a new source of evidence we explore the geographical mobility of mid-nineteenth century seamen. Among seamen born outside London, the tall, the literate and those who could remember the exact day, month and year when they were born - characteristics that we suggest mark them out as men with more choices in life - were more likely to migrate to London. Contrary to what might be inferred from contemporary descriptions of urban disamenities or from persistent differentials in mortality, London appears as a desirable destination for those who could choose. The conclusion must be that London was not so bad, and we should adjust our perception of the problems of urbanisation accordingly, with implications for the wider debate on the standard of living during the industrial revolution. The paper’s methodological innovation is the use of height as an explanatory variable in the analysis of migration. Although correlated with other variables that are routinely used in anthropometric studies to indicate life chances, such as literacy and the ability to recall date of birth, height has many advantages over these alternatives in that it exhibits higher levels of significance, and is more flexible. Moreover while literacy and heaping are in essence binary variables, height is a (near) continuous one, and one that allows us to test for linear and non-linear responses, as we do with interesting results in this paper. Perhaps the most fruitful use of height in historical analyses may turn out to be as an explanatory variable; at the very least such a research strategy provides anthropometric historians with fresh opportunities.
|Date of creation:||May 2007|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: LSE, Dept. of Economic History Houghton Street London, WC2A 2AE, U.K.|
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7955 7084
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/economicHistory/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Hans-Joachim Voth & Timothy Leunig, 1996.
"Did smallpox reduce height? Stature and the standard of living in London, 1770-1873,"
Economic History Review,
Economic History Society, vol. 49(3), pages 541-560, 08.
- Hans-Joachim Voth & Tim Leunig, 1996. "Did smallpox reduce height?: stature and the standard of living in London, 1770-1873," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 497, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Long, Jason, 2005. "Rural-Urban Migration and Socioeconomic Mobility in Victorian Britain," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(01), pages 1-35, March.
- Boyer, George R., 1997. "Labour migration in southern and eastern England, 1861 1901," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(02), pages 191-215, August.
- Williamson,Jeffrey G., 1990. "Coping with City Growth during the British Industrial Revolution," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521364805, October.
- Thomas, D. & Strauss, J., 1997.
"Health and Wages: Evidence on Men and Women in Urban Brazil,"
97-05, RAND - Reprint Series.
- Thomas, Duncan & Strauss, John, 1997. "Health and wages: Evidence on men and women in urban Brazil," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 159-185, March.
- Jane Humphries & Tim Leunig, 2007.
"Cities, Market Integration and Going to Sea: Stunting and the Standard of Living in Early Nineteenth-Century England and Wales,"
Economics Series Working Papers
2007-W66, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- J.Humphries & T. Leunig, 2007. "Cities, Market Integration and Going to Sea: Stunting and the standard of living in early nineteenth-century England and Wales," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _066, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
- Arora, Suchit, 2001. "Health, Human Productivity, And Long-Term Economic Growth," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(03), pages 699-749, September.
- Nicholas, Stephen & Steckel, Richard H., 1991. "Heights and Living Standards of English Workers During the Early Years of Industrializations, 1770–1815," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(04), pages 937-957, December.
- Hunt, E. H., 1986. "Industrialization and Regional Inequality: Wages in Britain, 1760–1914," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(04), pages 935-966, December.
- Horrell, Sara & Humphries, Jane & Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2001. "Destined for Deprivation: Human Capital Formation and Intergenerational Poverty in Nineteenth-Century England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 339-365, July.
- George R. Boyer & Timothy J. Hatton, 1997. "Migration and Labour Market Integration in Late Nineteenth-Century England and Wales," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 50(4), pages 697-734, November.
- Steckel, Richard H., 1986. "A Peculiar Population: The Nutrition, Health, and Mortality of American Slaves from Childhood to Maturity," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(03), pages 721-741, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:22317. 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: (LSERO Manager on behalf of EH Dept.)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.