Anthropometric within-country Inequality and the Estimation of Skill Premia with Anthropometric Indicators

Matthias Blum, Jörg Baten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently, a method to measure inequality has been proposed that is based on an- thropometric indicators. Baten (1999, 2000) argued that the coefficient of variation of human stature (henceforth ‘CV’) is correlated with overall inequality in a society, and that it can be used as indicator, especially where income inequality measures are lack- ing. This correlation has been confirmed in further analyses, for example by Pradhan et al. (2003), Moradi and Baten (2005), Sunder (2003), Guntupalli and Baten (2006), Blum (2010a), van Zanden et al. (2010), see also Figure 1 and Table 1. The idea is that average height reflects nutritional conditions during early childhood and youth. Since wealthier people have better access to food, shelter and medical resources, they tend to be taller than the poorer part of the population. Hence, the variation of height of a cer- tain cohort may be indicative of income distribution during the decade of their birth. The aim of this study is firstly to provide an overview of different forms of within- country height inequality. Previous studies on the aspects of height inequality are re- viewed. Inequalities between ethnic groups, gender, inhabitants of different regions and income groups are discussed. In the two final sections, we compare height CVs of anthropological inequality with another indicator of inequality, namely skill premia. We also present estimates of skill premia for a set of countries and decades for which “height CVs”, as they will be called in the following, are available.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-138
JournalJahrbuch für Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Anthropometric within-country Inequality and the Estimation of Skill Premia with Anthropometric Indicators'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this