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date: 27 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses opportunities and limitations of height inequality, especially the role of social status and income distribution in determining height inequality. The more unequal the income distribution in a society, the more unequal the corresponding height distribution. At one time, the height gap between rich and poor teenagers in industrializing England was as high as 22 cm (8.7 inches); today, height inequality tends to be much lower (on the order of a few centimeters) because the gap between rich and poor in developed countries tends to be smaller. Results presented here suggest that height inequality is driven by differences in purchasing power, education, physical workload, and epidemiological environment. In a modern setting, social safety and redistribution of income is also relevant. An introduction into the literature helps illustrate opportunities this methodology has to offer to understand better the dynamics of the way populations experience economic development.

Keywords: inequality, height, anthropometrics, biological standard of living, net nutrition

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