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Title:Poor, Hungry and Ignorant: Numeracy and the Impact of High Food Prices in Industrializing Britain, 1780-1850 PDF Logo
Authors:Baten, Jörg
Crayen, Dorothee
Voth, Joachim
Issue Date:2010
Series/Report no.:Beiträge zur Jahrestagung des Vereins für Socialpolitik 2010: Ökonomie der Familie - Session: History as Laboratory: Natural Experiments in Economic History E1-V1
Abstract:This paper uses the ability to recall one's age correctly as an indicator of numeracy. We show that low levels of nutrition impaired numeracy in industrializing England, 1780-1850. Numeracy declined markedly among those born during the war years, especially where wheat was dear. England's nascent welfare state mitigated the negative effect of high food prices on cognitive skills. Nutrition during early development mattered for labor market outcomes: individuals born in periods or countries with high age heaping were more likely to sort into occupations with limited intellectual requirements.
Subjects:nutrition
cognitive development
age heaping
numeracy
occupational choice
Industrial Revolution
social spending
poverty traps
effects of war
JEL:O11
O15
N33
Document Type:Conference Paper
Appears in Collections:Jahrestagung des Vereins für Socialpolitik 2010: Ökonomie der Familie

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