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Net nutrition, insolation, mortality, and the antebellum paradox

Scott Alan Carson ()
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Scott Alan Carson: University of Texas, Permian Basin

Journal of Bioeconomics, 2020, vol. 22, issue 2, No 2, 77-98

Abstract: Abstract When other measures for material welfare are scarce or unreliable, stature is a well-established measure for cumulative net nutrition. The antebellum paradox is the ironic result that average stature decreased during the nineteenth century’s second and third quarters at the same time that wages and income increased. Nevertheless, because of selection concerns, recent criticisms call into question the antebellum paradox’s authenticity. This study illustrates that the nineteenth century’s observed second and third quarter stature diminution was real, but the antebellum paradox is not the timing of the stature decrease but nutrition and disease conditions. Average statures increased with access to pork and dairy, were lower in virulent disease environments, and had an inverted U-shape in both insolation and population density, indicating that the antebellum paradox was resource variation rather than simply stature variation over time.

Keywords: Stature variation; Cumulative net nutrition; Nativity; Race (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C1 C4 D1 I1 N3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s10818-020-09293-6

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