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Living conditions in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana 1925-1985: What Do Survey Data on Height Stature Tell Us

Author

Listed:
  • Denis Cogneau

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics, IRD - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement)

  • Léa Rouanet

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics, CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - ENSAI - Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Analyse de l'Information [Bruz] - X - École polytechnique - ENSAE ParisTech - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique)

Abstract

Survey data reveals that the pace of increase in height stature experienced by successive cohorts born in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana during the late colonial period (1925-1960) is almost as high as the pace observed in France and Great Britain during the period 1875 to 1975, even when correcting for the bias arising from old-age shrinking. By contrast, the early post-colonial period (1960-1985) is characterised by stagnation or even reversion in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana. This article argues that the selection effects linked for instance to measuring the height of women rather than men, mothers rather than women, and, most importantly, the interactions between height and mortality, cannot account for these figures. It then disaggregates these national trends by parental background and district of birth, and match individual data with district-level historical data on export crop (cocoa) expansion, urban density and colonial investment in health and education. Finally, it provides evidence that a significant share of the increase in height stature may be related to the early stages of urbanisation and cocoa production.

Suggested Citation

  • Denis Cogneau & Léa Rouanet, 2011. "Living conditions in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana 1925-1985: What Do Survey Data on Height Stature Tell Us," Post-Print halshs-00754697, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00754697
    DOI: 10.1080/20780389.2011.625240
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-pjse.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00754697
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    Cited by:

    1. Denis Cogneau & Kenneth Houngbedji & Sandrine Mesplé-Somps, 2013. "The fall of the elephant. Two decades of poverty increase in Côte d’Ivoire (1988 - 2008)," Post-Print hal-01517394, HAL.
    2. Bokang Mpeta & Johan Fourie & Kris Inwood, 2017. "Black living standards in South Africa before democracy: New evidence from heights," Working Papers 670, Economic Research Southern Africa.

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