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Did taller people live longer? Influence of height on life span in rural Spain, 1835-2019

Francisco Marco-Gracia () and Javier Puche ()

No 201, Working Papers from European Historical Economics Society (EHES)

Abstract: This article analyses the relationship between male height and age at death among adults born between 1835 and 1939 in fourteen villages in north-east Spain. A total of 1,488 conscripts who died between 1868 and 2019 have been included in the analysis. The height data have been obtained from conscriptions for military service; demographic and socioeconomic data of the deceased were obtained from parish archives and censuses. The data were linked according to nominative criteria using family reconstitution methods. The results suggest that there has been a positive relationship between height and life span in the long-term. For the birth cohorts of 1835-1869, conscripts with a height of 170 cm or more lived on average 7.6 years longer than individuals measuring less than 160 cm. This biological difference disappeared for the birth cohort of 1900-1939 due to a progressive improvement in health and nutrition conditions, benefiting especially the short conscripts.

Keywords: Heights; Life span; Biological inequality; rural Spain; 1835-2019 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I10 I14 I15 N33 N34 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 34 pages
Date: 2020-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea and nep-his
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