Heights and Human Welfare: Recent Developments and New Directions

66 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2008 Last revised: 21 Sep 2010

See all articles by Richard H. Steckel

Richard H. Steckel

Ohio State University (OSU) - Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: December 2008

Abstract

Since 1995 approximately 325 publications on stature have appeared in the social sciences, which is more than a four-fold increase in the rate of production relative to the period 1977-1994. The expansion occurred in several areas, but especially within economics, indicating that heights are now widely accepted as a useful measure of human welfare. Much of this new work extends beyond the traditional bailiwick of anthropometric history, including biological welfare during economic and political crises; anthropometric influences on wages; the welfare of women relative to men in the contemporary world; the fetal origins hypothesis; and inequality in the developing world. The approach has also expanded within economic history to consider the consequences of empire for colonials; the health of populations lacking traditional measures of social performance; the consequences of smallpox; and very long-term trends in health. Much has also been learned about socioeconomic aspects of inequality, the welfare implications of industrialization, and socioeconomic determinants of stature. The last is a work in progress and one may doubt whether sufficient longitudinal evidence will become available for a complete understanding of the variety and strength of pathways that affect human physical growth.

Suggested Citation

Steckel, Richard H., Heights and Human Welfare: Recent Developments and New Directions (December 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w14536, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1312629

Richard H. Steckel (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Economics ( email )

1945 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43210-1172
United States
614-292-5008 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
38
Abstract Views
661
PlumX Metrics