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How useful is anthropometric history?

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  • Komlos, John

Abstract

In his recent presidential address to the American Economic History Association, Paul Hohenberg argued that anthropometric history does not meet his criteria for useful research in the field of economic history. He considers research useful if (a) it "helps shape one of our underlying disciplines"; b) it contributes "to clear—even fresh—thinking about current, policy-related issues or on-going scholarly debates about the historical past"; and c) it "penetrates the fuzzy realm of identity-shaping popular discourse". I argue briefly that only a superficial reading of the literature would lead to the conclusion that anthropometric history has not been useful.

Suggested Citation

  • Komlos, John, 2009. "How useful is anthropometric history?," Discussion Papers in Economics 10587, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:10587
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Komlos, John, 1987. "The Height and Weight of West Point Cadets: Dietary Change in Antebellum America," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(04), pages 897-927, December.
    2. Paul Schultz, T., 2003. "Wage rentals for reproducible human capital: evidence from Ghana and the Ivory Coast," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 331-366, December.
    3. Fogel, Robert W, 1994. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 369-395, June.
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    5. Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2004. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 1019-1053, October.
    6. Angus Deaton, 2008. "Height, Health, and Inequality: The Distribution of Adult Heights in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 468-474, May.
    7. Stephen Nicholas & Deborah Oxley, 1993. "The living standards of women during the industrial revolution, 1795-1820," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 46(4), pages 723-749, November.
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    9. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2008. "Stature and Status: Height, Ability, and Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(3), pages 499-532, June.
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    12. T. Paul Schultz, 2002. "Wage Gains Associated with Height as a Form of Health Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 349-353, May.
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    15. Komlos, John, 1998. "Shrinking in a Growing Economy? The Mystery of Physical Stature during the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 779-802, September.
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    19. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic History - General; Economic History - Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods;

    JEL classification:

    • N00 - Economic History - - General - - - General
    • N01 - Economic History - - General - - - Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods

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