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The Biological Standard of Living in Indonesia during the 20th Century: Evidence from the Age at Menarche

Pierre van der Eng () and Kitae Sohn

No 2018-12, CEI Working Paper Series from Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University

Abstract: This paper analyses long-term changes in the mean age at menarche (MAM) as a biological indicator of changes in the standard of living in Indonesia. It finds that MAM was about 15.5 for birth cohorts in the late-19th century, decreasing to 14.5 by the 1930s, at which level it stagnated until the gradual decrease resumed since the early 1960s to around 12.5 in the mid-2000s. The paper considers that long-term improvements in nutrition, educational attainment and health care explain these trends. An international comparison of long-term changes finds that MAM in Indonesia was much lower than in Korea and China until respectively 1970 and 1990, but comparable to Japan until 1950 and to Malaysia until 1930. The paper presents reasons why these differences are unlikely to be related to dissimilarities in climate and ethnicity, and concludes that they are indicative of relative standards of living.

Keywords: living standards; human growth; menarche; Indonesia; Asia (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I12 I31 N15 O15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 32 p.
Date: 2018-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his and nep-sea
Note: This version: 5 October 2018
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http://hermes-ir.lib.hit-u.ac.jp/rs/bitstream/10086/29739/1/wp2018-12.pdf

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Journal Article: The biological standard of living in Indonesia during the 20th century: Evidence from the age at menarche (2019) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hit:hitcei:2018-12

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