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Did smallpox reduce height?: stature and the standard of living in London, 1770-1873

Hans-Joachim Voth and Tim Leunig ()

LSE Research Online Documents on Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library

Abstract: In this paper, we re-examine the effect of smallpox on the height attained by those who suffered from this disease. To this end, we analyse a dataset assembled by Floud, Wachter and Gregory on the height of recruits into the Marine Society, 1770-1873. Using both time series and cross-sectional analysis, we show that smallpox was indeed an important determinant of height: those who had suffered from smallpox were significantly shorter. This suggests that the increase in heights documented by Floud et al. may be explained not just by increased nutritional intake, but also by the eradication of smallpox.

JEL-codes: N33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1996-08
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Published in Economic History Review, August, 1996, 49(3), pp. 541-560. ISSN: 0013-0117

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Related works:
Journal Article: Did smallpox reduce height? Stature and the standard of living in London, 1770-1873 (1996) Downloads
Working Paper: Did Smallpox Reduce Height? Stature and the Standard of Living in London, 1770-1873 (1995) Downloads
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