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Nutritional Status and Agricultural Surpluses in the Antebellum United States

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  • Lee A. Craig
  • Thomas Weiss

Abstract

We model the relationship between local agricultural surpluses, nutritional status, and height, and we test the hypothesis that adult height is positively correlated with the local production of nutrition in infancy. We test the hypothesis on two samples of Union Army recruits - one consisting of white recruits and the other black recruits. The white sample shows that a local protein surplus one standard deviation above the mean yielded an additional 0.10 inches in adult height, and a similar deviation in surplus calorie production yielded an additional 0.20 inches. For blacks, however, the effect was probably negligible.

Suggested Citation

  • Lee A. Craig & Thomas Weiss, 1997. "Nutritional Status and Agricultural Surpluses in the Antebellum United States," NBER Historical Working Papers 0099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberhi:0099
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John Komlos, 1993. "The secular trend in the biological standard of living in the United Kingdom, 1730-1860," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 46(1), pages 115-144, February.
    2. Komlos, John & Coclanis, Peter, 1997. "On the Puzzling Cycle in the Biological Standard of Living: The Case of Antebellum Georgia," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 433-459, October.
    3. 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.
    4. Komlos, John, 1996. "Anomalies in Economic History: Toward a Resolution of the “Antebellum Puzzle”," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(01), pages 202-214, March.
    5. Roderick Floud & Kenneth W. Wachter & Annabel Gregory, 1993. "Measuring historical heights-shortcuts or the long way round: a reply to Komlos," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 46(1), pages 145-154, February.
    6. Gallman, Robert E., 1996. "Dietary Change in Antebellum America," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(01), pages 193-201, March.
    7. John Komlos, "undated". "Stature and Nutrition in the Habsburg Monarchy: The Standard of Living and Economic Development," Articles by John Komlos 36, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
    8. Gregory Clark & Michael Huberman & Peter H. Lindert, 1995. "A British food puzzle, 1770–1850," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(2), pages 215-237, May.
    9. Margo, Robert A. & Steckel, Richard H., 1983. "Heights of Native-Born Whites During the Antebellum Period," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(01), pages 167-174, March.
    10. John Komlos, 1992. "Toward an Anthropometric History of African-Americans: The Case of the Free Blacks in Antebellum Maryland," NBER Chapters,in: Strategic Factors in Nineteenth Century American Economic History: A Volume to Honor Robert W. Fogel, pages 297-329 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Craig, Lee A & Palmquist, Raymond B & Weiss, Thomas, 1998. "Transportation Improvements and Land Values in the Antebellum United States: A Hedonic Approach," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 173-189, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Haines, Michael R. & Kintner, Hallie J., 2008. "Can breast feeding help you in later life? Evidence from German military heights in the early 20th century," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 420-430, December.
    2. Maria-Dolores, Ramon & Martínez Carrion, José Miguel, 2012. "The comovement between height and some economic development indicators in Spain," UMUFAE Economics Working Papers 26464, DIGITUM. Universidad de Murcia.
    3. Maloney, Thomas N. & Carson, Scott Alan, 2008. "Living standards in Black and White: Evidence from the heights of Ohio Prison inmates, 1829-1913," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 237-251, July.
    4. Areendam Chanda & Laura Alfaro & Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan & Selin Sayek, 2006. "How Does Foreign Direct Investment Promote Economic Growth? Exploring the Effects of Financial Markets on Linkages," Departmental Working Papers 2006-13, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    5. Yoo, Dongwoo, 2012. "Height and death in the Antebellum United States: A view through the lens of geographically weighted regression," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 43-53.
    6. Woitek, Ulrich, 2003. "Height cycles in the 18th and 19th centuries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 243-257, June.
    7. Haines, Michael R. & Craig, Lee A. & Weiss, Thomas, 2011. "Did African Americans experience the [`]Antebellum Puzzle'? Evidence from the United States Colored Troops during the Civil War," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 45-55, January.
    8. Komlos, John, 2012. "A Three-Decade “Kuhnian” History of the Antebellum Puzzle: Explaining the shrinking of the US population at the onset of modern economic growth," Discussion Papers in Economics 12758, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    9. Jacobs, Jan & Tassenaar, Vincent, 2004. "Height, income, and nutrition in the Netherlands: the second half of the 19th century," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 181-195, June.
    10. Sunder, Marco, 2004. "The height of Tennessee convicts: another piece of the "antebellum puzzle"," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 75-86, March.
    11. Ramón María-Dolores & José Miguel Martínez Carrión, 2009. "The relationship between height and economic development in Spain. A historical perspective," Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) 0912, Asociacion Espa–ola de Historia Economica.
    12. Michael R. Haines & Lee A. Craig & Thomas Weiss, 2000. "Development, Health, Nutrition, and Mortality: The Case of the 'Antebellum Puzzle' in the United States," NBER Historical Working Papers 0130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. John Komlos, 2003. "Access to Food and the Biological Standard of Living: Perspectives on the Nutritional Status of Native Americans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 252-255, March.
    14. Komlos, John & Baten, Jörg, 2003. "Looking Backward and Looking Forward: Anthropometric Research and the Development of Social Science History," Discussion Papers in Economics 59, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    15. Brian A'Hearn & John Komlos, 2015. "The Decline in the Nutritional Status of the U.S. Antebellum Population at the Onset of Modern Economic Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 5691, CESifo Group Munich.
    16. María-Dolores, Ramón & Martínez-Carrión, José Miguel, 2011. "The relationship between height and economic development in Spain, 1850-1958," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 30-44, January.
    17. Michael R. Haines, 1998. "Health, Height, Nutrition, and Mortality: Evidence on the "Antebellum Puzzle" from Union Army Recruits in the Middle of the Nineteenth Century," NBER Historical Working Papers 0107, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Werner Troesken, 2003. "Lead Water Pipes and Infant Mortality in Turn-of-the-Century Massachusetts," NBER Working Papers 9549, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Scott A. Carson, 2012. "Nineteenth Century Biological Conditions on the High Central Plains," CESifo Working Paper Series 3807, CESifo Group Munich.
    20. 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.
    21. Hiermeyer, Martin, 2010. "The height and BMI values of West Point cadets after the Civil War," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 127-133, March.
    22. Komlos, John, 2003. "How to (and How Not to) Analyze Deficient Height Samples," Discussion Papers in Economics 56, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N5 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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