Oxford OX1 1DW
Institutional Affiliation: University of Oxford
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|January 2016||The Decline in the Nutritional Status of the U.S. Antebellum Population at the Onset of Modern Economic Growth|
with : w21845
The decline in the physical stature of the American population for more than a generation beginning with the birth cohorts of the early 1830s was brought about by a diminution in nutritional intake in spite of robust growth in average incomes. This occurred at the onset of modern economic growth on account of rising inequality and an increase in food prices, which brought about dietary changes through the substitution away from edibles toward non-edibles. In a recent working paper, Bodenhorn, Guinnane, and Mroz question this consensus view, suggesting that a decline in heights in a military sample may not be representative of the population at large. They argue that increasing wages in the civilian labor market may well induce an increased proportion of shorter men to volunteer for militar...