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Escaping from hunger before WW1: the nutritional transition and living standards in Western Europe and USA in the late nineteenth century

Gazeley, Ian ORCID: 0000-0002-4277-1001, Holmes, Rose, Newell, Andrew, Reynolds, Kevin and Gutierrez Rufrancos, Hector (2022) Escaping from hunger before WW1: the nutritional transition and living standards in Western Europe and USA in the late nineteenth century. Cliometrica. ISSN 1863-2505

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s11698-022-00259-4

Abstract

Using the US Commissioner of Labor household survey, we estimate calories available to workers’ households in USA, Belgium, Britain, France and Germany in 1888/90. We make raw comparisons of the data and utilise propensity score matching techniques to attempt to overcome differences between the nature of the country samples included in the original survey. We find that US households had on average 500 daily calories per capita more than French and Germans households, with the Belgians and British households closer to the USA. We ask if US workers had more energy for work, once likely differences in stature between national sub-samples are taken into account, and conclude it was a minor advantage. Finally, we ask if economic migration leads to taller children. We find that US-based British households were able to provide more calories than those in Britain in response to an additional child, so that, other things being equal, their children would grow taller.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author(s).
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: D History General and Old World
JEL classification: J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J11 - Demographic Trends and Forecasts
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J6 - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies > J61 - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
N - Economic History > N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income, and Wealth > N31 - Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income and Wealth: U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2022 11:00
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2023 19:09
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/117257

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