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Health, Height and the Household at the Turn of the 20th Century

  • Bailey, Roy E.

    ()

    (University of Essex)

  • Hatton, Timothy J.

    ()

    (University of Essex)

  • Inwood, Kris

    ()

    (University of Guelph)

We examine the health and height of men born in England and Wales in the 1890s who enlisted in the army at the time of the First World War. We take a sample of the army service records and use this information to find the recruits as children in the 1901 census. Econometric results indicate that adult height was negatively related to the number of children in the household as well as to the share of earners, the degree of crowding, and positively to socioeconomic class. Adding the characteristics of the local registration district has little effect on the household-level effects. But local conditions were important; in particular the industrial character of the district, local housing conditions and the female illiteracy rate. We interpret these as representing the negative effect on height of the local disease environment. The results suggest that changing conditions at both household and locality levels contributed to the increase in height and health in the following decades.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8128.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2014
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming in: Economic History Review, 2015
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8128
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  1. Simon Szreter & Graham Mooney, 1998. "Urbanization, Mortality, and the Standard of Living Debate: New Estimates of the Expectation of Life at Birth in Nineteenth-century British Cities," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 51(1), pages 84-112, 02.
  2. Carlos Bozzoli & Angus Deaton & Climent Quintana, 2008. "Adult height and childhood disease," Working Papers 2008-25, FEDEA.
    • Carlos Bozzoli & Angus Deaton & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2008. "Adult height and childhood disease," Working Papers 1119, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  3. Hatton, Timothy J., 2010. "Infant Mortality and the Health of Survivors: Britain 1910-1950," IZA Discussion Papers 4932, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Bodenhorn, Howard & Guinnane, Timothy W. & Mroz, Thomas A., 2013. "Problems of Sample-Selection Bias in the Historical Heights Literature: A Theoretical and Econometric Analysis," Working Papers 114, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  5. Baten, Joerg, 2009. "Protein supply and nutritional status in nineteenth century Bavaria, Prussia and France," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 165-180, July.
  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. Jane Humphries & Tim Leunig, 2009. "Cities, market integration, and going to sea: stunting and the standard of living in early nineteenth-century England and Wales -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 62(2), pages 458-478, 05.
  8. Schneider, Ryan, 1996. "Historical note on height and parental consumption decisions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 279-283, February.
  9. Breschi, M. & Fornasin, A. & Manfredini, M. & Mazzoni, S. & Pozzi, L., 2011. "Socioeconomic conditions, health and mortality from birth to adulthood, Alghero 1866-1925," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 366-375, July.
  10. Newell, Andrew T. & Gazeley, Ian, 2012. "The Declines in Infant Mortality and Fertility: Evidence from British Cities in Demographic Transition," IZA Discussion Papers 6855, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Richard H. Steckel, 1995. "Stature and the Standard of Living," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1903-1940, December.
  12. Lantzsch, Jana & Schuster, Klaus, 2009. "Socioeconomic status and physical stature in 19th-century Bavaria," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 46-54, March.
  13. Cranfield, John & Inwood, Kris, 2007. "The great transformation: A long-run perspective on physical well-being in Canada," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 204-228, July.
  14. Cage, R A & Foster, John, 2002. "Overcrowding and Infant Mortality: A Tale of Two Cities," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(2), pages 129-49, May.
  15. Baten, Jorg & Murray, John E., 2000. "Heights of Men and Women in 19th-Century Bavaria: Economic, Nutritional, and Disease Influences," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 351-369, October.
  16. Weir, David R., 1993. "Parental Consumption Decisions and Child Health During the Early French Fertility Decline, 1790–1914," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(02), pages 259-274, June.
  17. Sara Horrell & Deborah Oxley, 2012. "Bringing home the bacon? Regional nutrition, stature, and gender in the industrial revolution," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 65(4), pages 1354-1379, November.
  18. Howard Bodenhorn & Timothy W. Guinnane & Thomas A. Mroz, 2013. "Problems of Sample-selection Bias in the Historical Heights Literature: A Theoretical and Econometric Analysis," Working Papers 1023, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
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