Why are you tall while others are short? Agricultural production and other proximate determinants of global heights

Jörg Baten, Matthias Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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We analyze the proximate determinants of the biological standard of living from a global perspective, namely high-quality nutrition and the disease environment during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Until the mid-twentieth century, the local availability of cattle, meat, and milk per capita and the local disease environment mainly determined the stature of the population – and, by implication, how long they lived and how healthy they were. During the late twentieth century, the trade of agricultural products and health-promoting technologies increased in relative importance; hence, the local availabilities became less decisive in explaining height differences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-165
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Review of Economic History
Issue number2
Early online date27 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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