research institute for compassionate economics

Read this paper: “How have Europeans grown so tall?”

Written by Dean Spears on September 5th, 2013

Everybody interested in the determinants of population average heights should read this new paper by Timothy Hatton, available here: http://www.west-info.eu/files/Research-Oxford-Journal-2013.pdf

The message remains clear: population heights are not fixed, immutable essences but reflect environmental, nutritional, and early-life health conditions. When conditions improve, heights increase. Interestingly, the heights that Hatton reports for British men in the 1870s are very similar to the average height that Deaton (AEA P&P 2008) finds for Indian men in 2005-6.
From the conclusion:
“The evidence suggests that improvements in the disease environment, as reflected in infant mortality, is the single most important factor driving the increase in height”
Here in the news: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-23896855