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Prenatal climate shocks and adult height in developing countries. Evidence from Japan (1872–1917)

Jean-Pascal Bassino (), Thomas Lagoarde-Segot and Ulrich Woitek

Economics & Human Biology, 2022, vol. 45, issue C

Abstract: This paper contributes to quantifying the biological implications of short-run climatic shocks and economic fluctuations in developing countries. Relying on a unique economic, climatic and anthropometric Japanese data covering the period from 1872 to 1917 (corresponding to the early phase of Japanese industrialization), we estimate the impact of yearly and monthly regional climate anomalies and yearly nationwide business cycle reversals on the average height of Japanese conscripts and its dispersion. Our estimations detect that climate anomalies during gestation and early infancy induced a decrease in average height observed at adulthood, as well as an increase in height dispersion, indicating greater welfare inequalities. These results indicate that pre-Anthropocene climate shocks had irremediable welfare implications for the poorest segments of the population in lower income countries.

Keywords: Climate shocks; Human stature; Height cycles; Japan (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E32 I15 N15 N95 Q54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2022.101115

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