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date: 30 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Beginning with Bismarck’s Germany in the late 19th century, nations gave increasing attention to measures of well-being while traveling the path to welfare states of the 20th century. Following the ascent of the germ theory of disease, governments could play a large and cost-effective role in serving public health and national competitiveness. The Great Depression energized the creation of a second important policy tool, national income accounts. This chapter discusses the evolution and application of biological measures of well-being, with comparisons to per capita gross domestic product from vital registration and life tables to morbidity and to anthropometric measures such as stature, weight, and skeletal remains. Recently, surveys of happiness have entered scholarly debate.

Keywords: Life table, morbidity, public health, stature, welfare state, well-being

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