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2 antonia - aug delhipresfinal

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2 antonia - aug delhipresfinal

  1. 1. Heights and Real Wages in Colonial Kerala Antonia Strachey DPhil Candidate in Economic and Social History Nuffield College University of Oxford
  2. 2. Introduction • Aim: To better understand Kerala’s path of development • In the process of constructing a new panel dataset of on infant mortality, real wages and heights from the late colonial Travancore. • Travancore was an early leader in reducing infant mortality and stunting. • Sharing the preliminary findings of the first part of this data • Project focuses on Princely State of Travancore: makes up around 2/3 of modern Kerala
  3. 3. Kerala and Stunting Today In the latest NFHS survey of India, 2005-6, Kerala was the state with by far the lowest stunting of children under 5 years. Region % Under 5s Stunted Delhi 20.4 West Bengal 17.8 Karnataka 20.5 Kerala 6.5 Uttar Pradesh 32.4 All India 23.7 *Stunted refers to those who are more than 3 standard deviations below norms of height for age Source: NFHS 2005-6 Report
  4. 4. Kerala History • Modern state composed of the Princely States of Travancore and Cochin and the British Indian district of Malabar. • Travancore state corresponds to about 2/3 of the modern state of Kerala including the capital. • Indirect vs direct rule.
  5. 5. Kerala History • Institutional context: Recent work by economists Banerjee and Iyer (Iyer, ‘The Long Term Impact of Colonial Rule’, The Review of Economics and Statistics, 2010, and Banerjee and Iyer, ‘History, Institutions and Economic Performance’, American Economic Review, 2005)has found evidence of colonial era institutions influencing development outcomes today. • One of their findings is that regions that were indirectly ruled, such as Travancore, have better public good provision today than former British India. • Qualitative histories reveal Travancore to have been an unusually progressive state which invested heavily in education and health and was the most literate region in India in our period, as it is today. (Desai, ‘Indirect British Rule, State Formation and Welfarism in Kerala, India 1860-1957 “, Social Science History, 2005) • The state also had an advanced bureaucracy which began collecting detailed statistics in the early C20th.
  6. 6. Data • New data sources on adult heights, real wages and infant mortality • Height data comprises height and a caste data of 1351 males born between 1910 and 1941 constructed as part of master’s thesis. • Real wages and infant mortality dataset is still under construction. I hope to collect data corresponding to the height data. At present I have patchy data for the 1930s and 1940s
  7. 7. Indian Anthropometric History • A subdiscipline of economic history has grown up in the last few decades trading this history of heights, known as anthropometric history • The first large scale anthropometric history of early C20th India was Baten and Guntupalli, Explorations in Economic History, (2006). Their paper documents trends in mean male height in North India between 1914 and 1944. • They also find that the difference in heights between the highest and lowest castes was relatively small – around 7cms. • Strachey, MPhil, University of Oxford 2009 completes the early C20th picture by uncovering similar data for southern India. • Both Baten and Guntupalli and Strachey find that mean male heights were largely stagnant between 1910 and 1940.
  8. 8. Indian Anthropometric History 1620 1625 1630 1635 1640 1645 1910 1912 1914 1916 1918 1920 1922 1924 1926 1928 1930 1932 1934 1936 1938 1940 1942 1944 Height(mm) Birth Year South North Heights in North and South India 1910-1944 Sources: Strachey, Caste, Public Policy and Health: Living Standards in South India, Unpublished MPhil thesis, University of Oxford, 2009, and Guntupalli and Baten, ‘Development and Inequality of Heights’. N=39,000
  9. 9. Travancore Height Data • In contrast to the national picture, in Travancore there is an increasing overall trend in height 1500 1520 1540 1560 1580 1600 1620 1640 1660 1680 1700 1910-1914 1915-1919 1920-1924 1925-1929 1930-1934 1935-1939 1940-1945 Height in Travancore By Caste Other Castes Scheduled Castes Christians Nayars Brahmins Source: Strachey, Caste, Public Policy and Health: Living Standards in South India, Unpublished MPhil thesis, University of Oxford, 2009 N=1350
  10. 10. Wages • Money wages have been deflated by rice prices to give ‘rice wages’. • Wages are decreasing in the 1930s and early 1940s as a result of the depression Source: The Statistics of Travancore, Various Editions.
  11. 11. Infant Mortality in Travancore • One of the best quality, most detailed records of infant mortality for colonial India that exists Travancore IM 1931-1945 India IM 1992-3 Nagercoil 112.8 Delhi 66 Trivandrum 71.7 West Bengal 75 Quilon 63.4 Karnataka 66 Kottayam 85.4 Kerala 24 Alwaye 89.6 Uttar Pradesh 100 All Travancore 84.2 All India 79 Sources: Travancore, The Statistics of Travancore, Various Editions. India, NFHS.
  12. 12. Regression Results No. Observations: 387 Specification 1 – Year Fixed Effects Specification2 – Year and Division Fixed Effects Independent variable: Height (mm) Constant -1639.2* -3737.8 Scheduled Caste -50.21 *** -54.65*** Christian 3.16 5.67 Nayar -18.47 -23.86 Other Caste -14.09 -18.11 Infant Mortality 0.22* 0.118 Unskilled Real Wages -5.15 -8.58 Semi-Skilled Real Wages -4.81 9.89 Skilled Real Wages -0.581 -0.177 Year FE YES YES Division FE NO YES Excluded caste dummy: Brahmin ***= significant at 10% , ** = significant at 5%, * = significant at 10%
  13. 13. Regression Results • Regional inequality in height between North and South of the state. • Only Semi-skilled wages approach significance and are of the expected sign. • Infant mortality is not statistically significant and is not of the expected sign • The coefficients on wages and infant mortality may well change when the database is completed.
  14. 14. Conclusions and Future Work • Kerala’s comparative success in nutrition has long historical roots. • Mean height was increasing in Travancore in the early C20th when it was stagnant elsewhere in India and despite falling real wages • Going to archives in Kerala in 3 weeks to collect more wages data. • Plan to construct a more subtle measure of real wages than the grain wages presented here using other price data in the database.
  15. 15. Travancore Height Data Caste No. Observatons Brahmin 156 Christian 209 Nayar 138 Scheduled Caste 226 Other Caste 624 Birth Cohort No. Observatons 1910-1914 145 1915-1919 169 1920-1924 219 1925-1929 223 1930-1934 286 1935-1939 293 1940-1945 14

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