Food for Thought: Comparing Estimates of Food Availability in England and Wales, 1700-1914

54 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2014 Last revised: 20 Aug 2021

See all articles by Bernard Harris

Bernard Harris

University of Southampton - Division of Sociology & Social Policy

Roderick Floud

London Metropolitan University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Sok Chul Hong

Sogang University

Date Written: May 2014

Abstract

In The Changing Body (Cambridge University Press and NBER, 2011), the authors presented a series of estimates showing the number of calories available for human consumption in England and Wales at various points in time between 1700 and 1909/13. The current paper corrects an error in those figures but also compares the estimates of The Changing Body with those published by a range of other authors. The differences reflect disagreements over a number of issues, including the amount of land under cultivation, the extraction and wastage rates for cereals and pulses and the number of animals supplying meat and dairy products. The paper considers recent attempts to achieve a compromise between these estimates and challenges claims that there was a dramatic reduction in either food availability or the average height of birth cohorts in the late-eighteenth century.

Suggested Citation

Harris, Bernard and Floud, Roderick and Hong, Sok Chul, Food for Thought: Comparing Estimates of Food Availability in England and Wales, 1700-1914 (May 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20177, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2444564

Bernard Harris (Contact Author)

University of Southampton - Division of Sociology & Social Policy ( email )

Southampton SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom
(023) 8059 2567 (Phone)
(023) 8059 3859 (Fax)

Roderick Floud

London Metropolitan University ( email )

London, N7 8HN
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Sok Chul Hong

Sogang University ( email )

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