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Food for Thought: Comparing Estimates of Food Availability in England and Wales, 1700-1914

Author

Listed:
  • Bernard Harris
  • Roderick Floud
  • Sok Chul Hong

Abstract

In The Changing Body (Cambridge University Press and NBER, 2011), the authors presented a series of estimates showing the number of calories available for human consumption in England and Wales at various points in time between 1700 and 1909/13. The current paper corrects an error in those figures but also compares the estimates of The Changing Body with those published by a range of other authors. The differences reflect disagreements over a number of issues, including the amount of land under cultivation, the extraction and wastage rates for cereals and pulses and the number of animals supplying meat and dairy products. The paper considers recent attempts to achieve a compromise between these estimates and challenges claims that there was a dramatic reduction in either food availability or the average height of birth cohorts in the late-eighteenth century.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernard Harris & Roderick Floud & Sok Chul Hong, 2014. "Food for Thought: Comparing Estimates of Food Availability in England and Wales, 1700-1914," NBER Working Papers 20177, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20177
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w20177.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Palfreyman, 2002. "Book Review," Higher Education Management and Policy, OECD Publishing, vol. 14(1), pages 127-133.
    2. Unknown, 2002. "REVIEWERS, July 2001-July 2002," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 34(3), pages 1-1, December.
    3. Broadberry,Stephen & Campbell,Bruce M. S. & Klein,Alexander & Overton,Mark & van Leeuwen,Bas, 2015. "British Economic Growth, 1270–1870," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107070783, December.
    4. Roderick Floud & Robert W. Fogel & Bernard Harris & Sok Chul Hong, 2011. "The Changing Body: Health, Nutrition, and Human Development in the Western World since 1700," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number foge10-1, June.
    5. Broadberry, Stephen; Campbell, Bruce; Klein, Alexander; Overton, Mark; Van Leeuwen, Bas., 2010. "English Economic Growth: 1270 - 1870," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 35, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    6. Eric B. Schneider, 2013. "Inescapable hunger? Energy cost accounting and the costs of digestion, pregnancy, and lactation," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(3), pages 340-363, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dora L. Costa, 2015. "Health and the Economy in the United States from 1750 to the Present," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 53(3), pages 503-570, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N01 - Economic History - - General - - - Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods
    • 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
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe

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