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On English Pygmies and Giants: the Physical Stature of English Youth in the late-18th and early-19th Centuries

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  • Komlos, John

Abstract

The physical stature of lower- and upper-class English youth are compared to one another and to their European and North American counterparts. The height gap between the rich and poor was the greatest in England, reaching 22 cm at age 16. The poverty-stricken English children were shorter for their age than any other European or North American group so far discovered, while the English rich were the tallest in their time: only 2.5 cm shorter than today’s US standards. Height of the poor declined in the late-18th century, and again in the 1830s and 1840s conforming to the general European pattern, while the height of the wealthy tended rather to increase until the 1840s and then levelled off.

Suggested Citation

  • Komlos, John, 2005. "On English Pygmies and Giants: the Physical Stature of English Youth in the late-18th and early-19th Centuries," Discussion Papers in Economics 573, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:573
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    File URL: https://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/573/1/children_youth.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. A'Hearn, Brian, 2004. "A restricted maximum likelihood estimator for truncated height samples," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 5-19.
    2. John Komlos & Peter Coclanis, "undated". "On the 'Puzzling' Antebellum Cycle of the Biological Standard of Living: the Case of Georgia," Articles by John Komlos 9, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
    3. Steckel, Richard H., 1979. "Slave height profiles from coastwise manifests," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 363-380, October.
    4. John Komlos & Peter Coclanis, "undated". "Nutrition and Economic Development in Post-Reconstruction South Carolina: an Anthropometric Approach," Articles by John Komlos 15, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
    5. Komlos, John, 2003. "How to (and How Not to) Analyze Deficient Height Samples," Discussion Papers in Economics 56, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    6. 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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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Bosch-Domènech, Antoni & Vriend, Nicolaas J., 2013. "On the role of non-equilibrium focal points as coordination devices," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 52-67.
    3. Adolfo Meisel & Margarita Vega, 2005. "The Stature Of The Colombian Elite Before The Onset Of Industrialization, 1870-1919," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 003627, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    4. Dobado-González, Rafael & Garcia-Hiernaux, Alfredo, 2017. "Two worlds apart: Determinants of height in late 18th century central Mexico," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 153-163.
    5. Dobado González, Rafael & García Montero, Héctor, 2010. "Colonial Origins of Inequality in Hispanic America? Some Reflections Based on New Empirical Evidence," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(02), pages 253-277, September.
    6. Juan José Echavarría & María Angélica Arbeláez, 2005. "Tasa De Cambio Y Crecimiento Económico En Colombia Durante La Última Década," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 003538, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Height; Biological Standard of Living; Anthropometry; Inequality; Industrial Revolution;

    JEL classification:

    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N53 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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