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Economic development in Puerto Rico after US annexation: Anthropometric evidence

Brian Marein

Economics & Human Biology, 2020, vol. 38, issue C

Abstract: This paper considers economic development in Puerto Rico following its annexation by the United States in 1898, a watershed moment in the history of the island and the pinnacle of American imperialism in Latin America. Drawing on data from three surveys, I show that male height in Puerto Rico increased at more than twice the average rate for Latin America and the Caribbean between 1890 and 1940. I also show that Puerto Ricans at mid-century were among the tallest Latin Americans outside of Argentina and Uruguay. The evidence supports the conclusion that conditions improved substantially after US annexation, in contrast to the prevailing view in the literature.

Keywords: Anthropometrics; Imperialism; Economic development; Puerto Rico; United States (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F54 I32 N36 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2020.100892

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