African Economic History Working Paper, African Economic History Network
Heights and Development in a Cash-Crop Colony: Living Standards in Ghana, 1870-1980
(), Gareth Austin and Jörg Baten
Abstract: While Ghana is a classic case of economic growth in an
agricultural-export colony, scholars have queried whether it was sustained,
and how far its benefits were widely distributed, socially and regionally.
Using height as a measure of human well-being we explore the evolution of
living standards and regional inequality in Ghana from 1870 to 1980. Our
findings suggest that, overall, living standards improved during colonial
times and that a trend reversal occurred during the economic crisis in the
1973-83. In a regression analysis we test several covariates reflecting the
major economic and social changes that took place in early twentiethcentury
Ghana including railway construction, cocoa production, missionary
activities, and urbanization. We find significant height gains in cocoa
producing areas, whereas heights decreased with urbanization.
Keywords: nutrition; health; anthropometrics; colonial; living standards; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: I30; I32; N37; O10; (follow links to similar papers)
53 pages, January 18, 2013
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