Nutritional Status and Agricultural Surpluses in the Antebellum United States
NBER Historical Working Paper No. 99
We model the relationship between local agricultural surpluses, nutritional status, and height, and we test the hypothesis that adult height is positively correlated with the local production of nutrition in infancy. We test the hypothesis on two samples of Union Army recruits - one consisting of white recruits and the other black recruits. The white sample shows that a local protein surplus one standard deviation above the mean yielded an additional 0.10 inches in adult height, and a similar deviation in surplus calorie production yielded an additional 0.20 inches. For blacks, however, the effect was probably negligible.
Published: The Biological Standard of Living in Comparative Perspective, Kolmos, John and Joerg Baten, eds., Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1998,pp. 190-207.