Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/104374
Authors: 
Komlos, John
Year of Publication: 
2012
Series/Report no.: 
Munich Discussion Paper 2012-10
Abstract: 
In 1979, when anthropometric history was still in its infancy, Robert Fogel and collaborators reported that the height of the US male white population began to decline quite unexpectedly around the birth cohorts of 1830. This was quite a conundrum on account of the fact that according to conventional economic theory nutritional status was not expected to diminish at the outset of modern economic growth, i.e., at a time when incomes were growing robustly. Although many hypotheses were offered, not until 1987 was the comprehensive solution to the puzzle offered that the height decline was due primarily to a decline in food consumption: agricultural productivity did not keep pace with rapid population growth and urbanization. However, it took a third of a century for a Kuhnian paradigm shift to occur until most of the participants in the debate accepted the model elucidated by Komlos in 1987.
Subjects: 
Anthropometric history
Heights
Thomas Kuhn
Paradigm shift
USA
Antebellum Puzzle
Living Standards
JEL: 
B20
B25
N00
Persistent Identifier of the first edition: 
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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