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The Biological Standard of Living in Zurich during WWI


  • Floris, Joël
  • Müller, Consuela
  • Woitek, Ulrich


The paper analyzes the class specific biological standard of living in the city of Zurich during World War I. We find an increase of aver- age human stature for lower class conscripts born during this period, while the average height of conscripts from the upper and middle class stagnated or even decreased, despite the lack of change in the income differential. A potential explanation of this phenomenon could be the changes in access to food and consumption habits, affecting terminal height via changes in milk consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Floris, Joël & Müller, Consuela & Woitek, Ulrich, 2015. "The Biological Standard of Living in Zurich during WWI," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112909, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc15:112909

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ian Gazeley & Andrew Newell, 2013. "The First World War and working-class food consumption in Britain," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 71-94, February.
    2. Steckel, Richard H., 2009. "Heights and human welfare: Recent developments and new directions," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-23, January.
    3. Richard H. Steckel, 1995. "Stature and the Standard of Living," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1903-1940, December.
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    JEL classification:

    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N94 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: 1913-
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General

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