Regional Inequality and Convergence in Southern Europe. Evidence from Height in Italy and Spain, 1850-2000
30 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2018
Date Written: September 30, 2017
This paper analyses the growth in height and its regional variability in Spain and Italy between the generational cohorts of 1850 and 1980. Using male height data drawn from the military enlistment records of the period between 1870 and 2000, this paper explores inequality and regional convergence in both countries. This long period was characterised by economic growth and the increase of human welfare. Regional inequality and convergence are analysed using sigma and beta convergence, a methodology based on panel data to obtain the speed of convergence. The results show that in 1850 height measurements started at low levels, but the two countries recorded a significant increase in the average height over the long term, which became more intense in Italy from the beginning of the twentieth century and in Spain from 1950. Therefore, there was divergence in the first half of the century and strong convergence at the end of the century. Regional inequality was more significant in the Italian case. Processes of regional convergence can be observed in both countries during the second half of the twentieth century, although inequality was lower in Spain than in Italy at the end of the period.
Keywords: Height, Biological Welfare, Spain, Italy, Economic Development, Regional Inequality, Convergence
JEL Classification: I14, N33, N94, R13
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