Gazeley I, Holmes R, Newell A, Reynolds K & Rufrancos HG (2022) Escaping from hunger before WW1: the nutritional transition and living standards in Western Europe and USA in the late nineteenth century. Cliometrica. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11698-022-00259-4
Using the US Commissioner of Labor household survey, we estimate calories available to workers’ households in USA, Belgium, Britain, France and Germany in 1888/90. We make raw comparisons of the data and utilise propensity score matching techniques to attempt to overcome differences between the nature of the country samples included in the original survey. We find that US households had on average 500 daily calories per capita more than French and Germans households, with the Belgians and British households closer to the USA. We ask if US workers had more energy for work, once likely differences in stature between national sub-samples are taken into account, and conclude it was a minor advantage. Finally, we ask if economic migration leads to taller children. We find that US-based British households were able to provide more calories than those in Britain in response to an additional child, so that, other things being equal, their children would grow taller.
Living standards; Nutrition; International comparisons; Migration
Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online