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Comparing Population Distributions from bin-Aggregated Sample Data: an Application to Historical Height Data from France

  • Jean-Yves Duclos
  • Josée Leblanc
  • David Sahn

This paper develops a methodology to estimate the entire population distributions from bin-aggregated sample data. We do this through the estimation of the parameters of mixtures of distributions that allow for maximal parametric flexibility. The statistical approach we develop enables comparisons of the full distributions of height data from potential army conscripts across France's 88 departments for most of the nineteenth century. These comparisons are made by testing for differences-of-means stochastic dominance. Corrections for possible measurement errors are also devised by taking advantage of the richness of the data sets. Our methodology is of interest to researchers working on historical as well as contemporary bin-aggregated or histogram-type data, something that still widely done since much of the information that is publicly available is in that form, often due to restrictions due to political sensitivity and/or confidentiality concerns.

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Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 0910.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0910
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  1. David E. Sahn & Stephen D. Younger, 2006. "Changes in inequality and poverty in Latin America: Looking beyond income to health and education," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 9, pages 215-234, November.
  2. Haddad, Lawrence & Ahmed, Akhter, 2003. "Chronic and Transitory Poverty: Evidence from Egypt, 1997-99," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 71-85, January.
  3. Federico, Giovanni, 2003. "Heights, calories and welfare: a new perspective on Italian industrialization, 1854-1913," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 289-308, December.
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  6. Pradhan, Menno & Sahn, David E. & Younger, Stephen D., 2003. "Decomposing world health inequality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 271-293, March.
  7. John Komlos & Marieluise Baur, 2003. "From the Tallest to (One of) the Fattest: The Enigmatic Fate of the American Population in the 20th Century," CESifo Working Paper Series 1028, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Deaton, Angus S & Paxson, Christina H, 1998. "Aging and Inequality in Income and Health," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 248-53, May.
  9. Komlos, John, 2003. "An anthropometric history of early-modern France," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 159-189, August.
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  11. Hatton, Timothy J. & Bray, Bernice E., 2010. "Long run trends in the heights of European men, 19th-20th centuries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 405-413, December.
  12. Angus Deaton, 2008. "Height, health, and inequality: the distribution of adult heights in India," Working Papers 1009, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  13. repec:pri:rpdevs:deaton_height_health_and_inequality_the_distribution_of_adult_heights_in_ is not listed on IDEAS
  14. McDonald, James B, 1984. "Some Generalized Functions for the Size Distribution of Income," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 647-63, May.
  15. Russell Davidson & Jean-Yves Duclos, 2006. "Testing for Restricted Stochastic Dominance," Cahiers de recherche 0609, CIRPEE.
  16. Richard H. Steckel, 2008. "Heights and Human Welfare: Recent Developments and New Directions," NBER Working Papers 14536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. Gilles Postel-Vinay & David E. Sahn, 2010. "Explaining stunting in nineteenth-century France," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(2), pages 315-334, 05.
  19. Brian A’hearn & Franco Peracchi & Giovanni Vecchi, 2009. "Height and the normal distribution: evidence from italian military data," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 46(1), pages 1-25, February.
  20. Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther & Postel-Vinay, Gilles & Watts, Tim, 2007. "Long Run Impacts of Income Shocks: Wine and Phylloxera in 19th Century France," CEPR Discussion Papers 6140, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. David Sahn, 2009. "Weights on the rise: where and for whom?," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 7(4), pages 351-370, December.
  22. Bassino, Jean-Pascal & Dormois, Jean-Pierre, 2009. "Comment tenir compte des erreurs de mesure dans l’estimation de la stature des conscrits français ?," Histoire, économie & société, Editions NecPlus, vol. 2009(01), pages 97-122, March.
  23. John Komlos, . "Shrinking in a Growing Economy? The Mystery of Physical Stature during the Industrial Revolution," Articles by John Komlos 7, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
  24. David E. Sahn & David C. Stifel, 2002. "Robust Comparisons of Malnutrition in Developing Countries," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(3), pages 716-735.
  25. Wagstaff, Adam, 2002. "Inequalities in health in developing countries - swimming against the tide?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2795, The World Bank.
  26. David Sahn & Stephen Younger, 2005. "Improvements in children’s health: Does inequality matter?," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 3(2), pages 125-143, August.
  27. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton_height_health_inequality_revised_ack_jan08.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Sen, Amartya, 1983. "Poor, Relatively Speaking," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 153-69, July.
  29. Heyberger, Laurent, 2007. "Toward an anthropometric history of provincial France, 1780-1920," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 229-254, July.
  30. Paapaa, Richard & van Dijk, Herman K., 1998. "Distribution and mobility of wealth of nations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(7), pages 1269-1293, July.
  31. Brian Goesling & Glenn Firebaugh, 2004. "The Trend in International Health Inequality," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 30(1), pages 131-146.
  32. Nolte, Ellen & McKee, Martin, 2004. "Changing health inequalities in east and west Germany since unification," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 119-136, January.
  33. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Gilles Postel-Vinay & Timothy M. Watts, 2007. "Long Run Health Impacts of Income Shocks: Wine and Phylloxera in 19th Century France," NBER Working Papers 12895, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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