The Effects on Stature of Poverty, Family Size and Birth Order: British Children in the 1930s
This paper examines effects of socio-economic conditions on the standardised heights and body mass index of children in Interwar Britain. It uses the Boyd Orr cohort, a survey of predominantly poor families taken in 1937-9, which provides a unique opportunity to explore the determinants of child health in the era before the welfare state. We examine the trade-off between the quality (in the form of health outcomes) and the number of children in the family at a time when genuine poverty still existed in Britain. Our results provide strong support both for negative birth order effects and negative family size effects on the heights of children. No such effects are found for the body mass index (BMI). We find that household income per capita positively influences the heights of children but, even after accounting for this, the number of children in the family still has a negative effect on height. This latter effect is closely associated with overcrowding and particularly with the degree of cleanliness or hygiene in the household, which conditions exposure to factors predisposing to disease. We also analyse evidence collected retrospectively, which indicates that the effects of childhood conditions on height persisted into adulthood.
|Date of creation:||Jan 2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published in: Oxford Economic Papers, 2010, 62 (1), 157-184|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
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.:
- Behrman, Jere R., 1988. "Nutrition, health, birth order and seasonality : Intrahousehold allocation among children in rural India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 43-62, February.
- Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005.
"The More the Merrier? The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Children's Education,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 120(2), pages 669-700, May.
- S Black & Paul Devereux & Kjell Salvanes, 2005. "The More the Merrier? The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Childrens Education," CEE Discussion Papers 0050, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
- Mette Ejrnæs & Claus Chr. Pörtner, 2002.
"Birth Order and the Intrahousehold Allocation of Time and Education,"
CAM Working Papers
2002-09, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
- Mette Ejrnæs & Claus C. Pörtner, 2004. "Birth Order and the Intrahousehold Allocation of Time and Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 1008-1019, November.
- Booth, Alison L. & Kee, Hiau Joo, 2005.
"Birth Order Matters: The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Educational Attainment,"
IZA Discussion Papers
1713, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Alison Booth & Hiau Kee, 2009. "Birth order matters: the effect of family size and birth order on educational attainment," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 367-397, April.
- Booth, Alison L & Kee, Hiau Joo, 2006. "Birth Order Matters: The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Educational Attainment," CEPR Discussion Papers 5453, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Alison Booth & Hiau Joo Kee, 2005. "Birth Order Matters: The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Educational Attainment," CEPR Discussion Papers 506, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
- Carlos Bozzoli & Angus Deaton & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2007.
"Child mortality, income and adult height,"
230, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
- Carlos Bozzoli & Angus S. Deaton & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2007. "Child Mortality, Income and Adult Height," NBER Working Papers 12966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Carlos Bozzoli & Angus Deaton & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2007. "Child mortality, income and adult height," Working Papers 162, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
- Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1976.
"Child Endowments, and the Quantity and Quality of Children,"
NBER Working Papers
0123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1976. "Child Endowments and the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S143-62, August.
- Duncan Thomas, 1994.
"Like Father, like Son; Like Mother, like Daughter: Parental Resources and Child Height,"
Journal of Human Resources,
University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(4), pages 950-988.
- Thomas, D., 1995. "Like Father, Like Son, Like Mother, Like Daughter, Parental Resources and Child Height," Papers 95-01, RAND - Reprint Series.
- Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S279-88, Part II, .
- Horton, Susan, 1988. "Birth Order and Child Nutritional Status: Evidence from the Philippines," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 341-54, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3314. 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: (Mark Fallak)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.