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Transitions that matter? Czechoslovakia’s break up and human stature

Costa-Font, Joan ORCID: 0000-0001-7174-7919 and Kossarova, Lucia (2019) Transitions that matter? Czechoslovakia’s break up and human stature. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16 (24). ISSN 1661-7827

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Identification Number: 10.3390/ijerph16245050


Changes in a population’s average stature are virtuous pointers of wellbeing which are sensitive to improvements in psychosocial environments during childhood. A major structural change that could have altered an environment during childhood is the transition from communist to a liberal democracy, and, more specifically, the meltdown of the Soviet bloc provides for a quasi-natural experiment. This paper examines the trends in heights in the Czech Republic and Slovakia before and after the transition and the subsequent break-up of the Czechoslovakian federation. We find that one additional year of exposure to a liberal democracy while growing up is associated with an increasing population stature of 0.28 cm among Slovaks and 0.15 cm among Czechs. We only find changes in stature among men who are more sensitive to environmental stress, especially at the lower end of the current socio-economic status. Results are robust to alternative datasets and measures of democracy.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 The Authors
Divisions: Health Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2020 00:14
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:58

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