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Short Criminals: Stature and Crime in Early America

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  • Howard Bodenhorn
  • Carolyn Moehling
  • Gregory N. Price

Abstract

This paper considers the extent to which crime in early America was conditioned on height. With data on inmates incarcerated in Pennsylvania state penitentiaries between 1826 and 1876, we estimate the parameters of Wiebull proportional hazard specifications of the individual crime hazard. Our results reveal that, consistent with a theory in which height can be a source of labor market disadvantage, criminals in early America were shorter than the average American, and individual crime hazards decreased in height.

Suggested Citation

  • Howard Bodenhorn & Carolyn Moehling & Gregory N. Price, 2010. "Short Criminals: Stature and Crime in Early America," NBER Working Papers 15945, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15945 Note: DAE LS
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    Cited by:

    1. Bodenhorn, Howard, 2016. "Prison crowding, recidivism, and early release in early Rhode Island," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 55-74.
    2. Price, Gregory N., 2013. "The allometry of metabolism and stature: Worker fatigue and height in the Tanzanian labor market," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 515-521.
    3. Bodenhorn, Howard & Guinnane, Timothy W. & Mroz, Thomas A., 2017. "Sample-Selection Biases and the Industrialization Puzzle," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 77(01), pages 171-207, March.
    4. Alan Fernihough & Mark E. McGovern, 2013. "A Tall Story: Characteristics, Causes, and Consequences of Stature Loss," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp429, IIIS.
    5. Scott A. Carson, 2016. "The Lasting Effects of Maternal Net Nutrition during US Economic Development," CESifo Working Paper Series 5827, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Blum, Matthias & Colvin, Christopher L. & McLaughlin, Eoin, 2017. "Scarring and selection in the Great Irish Famine," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2017-08, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    7. Bodenhorn, Howard & Guinnane, Timothy W. & Mroz, Thomas A., 2013. "Problems of Sample-Selection Bias in the Historical Heights Literature: A Theoretical and Econometric Analysis," Working Papers 114, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    8. Johnny Ducking & Peter Groothuis & James Hill, 2015. "Exit Discrimination in the NFL: A Duration Analysis of Career Length," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 42(3), pages 285-299, September.
    9. Fernihough, Alan & McGovern, Mark E., 2015. "Physical stature decline and the health status of the elderly population in England," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 30-44.
    10. Chris Vickers & Nicolas L. Ziebarth, 2016. "Economic Development and the Demographics of Criminals in Victorian England," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(1), pages 191-223.
    11. Böckerman, Petri & Johansson, Edvard & Kiiskinen, Urpo & Heliövaara, Markku, 2010. "The relationship between physical work and the height premium: Finnish evidence," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 414-420, December.
    12. Kris Inwood & Hamish Maxwell-Stewart & Deb Oxley, 2015. "Growing incomes, growing people in nineteenth-century Tasmania," CEH Discussion Papers 038, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    13. Howard Bodenhorn & Timothy Guinnane & Thomas Mroz, 2014. "Caveat Lector: Sample Selection in Historical Heights and the Interpretation of Early Industrializing Economies," NBER Working Papers 19955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913

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