IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/0374.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Colonial and Revolutionary Muster Rolls: Some New Evidence on Nutrition and Migration in Early America

Author

Listed:
  • Kenneth L. Sokoloff
  • Georgia C. Villaflor

Abstract

That investment in human capital has made an important contribution to the increase of labor productivity and per capita income during the last several centuries is widely acknowledged. While much of the research on this issue has focused on education, many scholars have also directed attention to the significance of improvements in nutrition. Until recently, efforts to study this subject have been hampered by a lack of evidence, but it now appears possible to construct indexes of nutrition from height-by-age data. This paper employs a relatively underutilized type of historical document to investigate the level of nutrition in early America. The same material also provides a rich source of information about patterns of migration during this period. This paper finds that native-born Americans approached modern heights by the time of the Revolution. On average, colonial Americans appear to have been 2 to 4 inches taller than Europeans, with southerners considerably taller than northerners and the rural population of greater stature than the urban. These differences may indicate that other factors besides nutrition were important in accounting for the dramatic changes in U.S. mortality rates during the nineteenth century.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth L. Sokoloff & Georgia C. Villaflor, 1979. "Colonial and Revolutionary Muster Rolls: Some New Evidence on Nutrition and Migration in Early America," NBER Working Papers 0374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0374
    Note: DAE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w0374.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0374. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.