The development and inequality of heights in North, West, and East India 1915–1944

Guntupalli, Aravinda Meera and Baten, Joerg (2006). The development and inequality of heights in North, West, and East India 1915–1944. Explorations in Economic History, 43(4) pp. 578–608.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eeh.2005.05.005

Abstract

In this study, we trace the development of height and its distribution in India during 1915–1944. Heights of North, West, and East Indians grew very slowly. Although for this period it has been argued that income inequality declined, we reject our working hypothesis that height inequality declined in parallel with income inequality. In fact, height differences were low during the influenza/famine period of 1918–1920, and the Great Depression period. With the growing openness of the late 1920s, we observe a temporary rise in height inequality. The overall level of height inequality is lower than expected for Indian society that is influenced by a rigid caste system.

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