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Sample-Selection Bias and Height Trends in the Nineteenth-Century United States

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  • Ariell Zimran

Abstract

After adjusting for sample-selection bias, I find a net decline in average stature of 0.64 inches in the birth cohorts of 1832--1860 in the US. This result supports the veracity of the Antebellum Puzzle—a deterioration of health during early modern economic growth in the US. However, this adjustment alters the trend in average stature, validating concerns over bias in the historical heights literature. The adjustment is based on census-linked military height data and uses a two-step semi-parametric sample-selection model to adjust for selection on observables and unobservables.

Suggested Citation

  • Ariell Zimran, 2018. "Sample-Selection Bias and Height Trends in the Nineteenth-Century United States," NBER Working Papers 24815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24815
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    Cited by:

    1. Spitzer, Yannay & Zimran, Ariell, 2018. "Migrant self-selection: Anthropometric evidence from the mass migration of Italians to the United States, 1907–1925," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 226-247.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • N11 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913

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