Complutense University Library

Neither so low nor so short! Wages and heights in eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries colonial Hispanic America

Dobado González, Rafael and Garcia, Hector (2009) Neither so low nor so short! Wages and heights in eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries colonial Hispanic America. [Working Paper or Technical Report]

[img]
Preview
PDF
315kB

Official URL: http://eprints.ucm.es/9762

View download statistics for this eprint

==>>> Export to other formats

Abstract

Based on substantial empirical work, our paper contributes to the ongoing debate on the historical causes of
contemporary Latin America problems of development (slow growth and high inequality). It shows solid
quantitative evidence on wages and heights for Bourbon Hispanic America that, in our opinion, challenges
mainstream assumptions about the –allegedly negative- effects of Spanish colonialism on the welfare of
common people. Purchasing capacity of miners and labourers in terms of grain and, especially, of meat was
generally equal to -or higher than- that in most parts of Europe and Asia. Heights of some 5000 recruits in
the colonial army and militias show a significant inter-regional variance. In South-eastern New Spain they
turn out to be slightly below Western standards whereas in Northern Mexico and Venezuela (Maracaibo)
they are comparable to those of Central, Eastern and Southern Europe. Thus, wages of ordinary Hispanic
Americans in eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were not low by international standards. Neither
were their physical statures always shorter than the European norm in the middle of the eighteenth century.
Our results might carry other far-reaching implications. On the one hand, an increasing and influent scholarship
characterizes colonial Hispanic America as an extreme case of economy based on extractive institutions
and inequality [Engerman and Sokoloff (1994, 2002, 2005); Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson
(2002)]. Was it really the case? Our response is somewhat sceptical. On the other hand, calculating ratios of
heights and real wages to GDP per capita estimates [Maddison (2009)] for 1820 converts Hispanic America
into a clear outlier within a wide sample of countries. This finding suggests that available estimations on
Bourbon Hispanic America GDP per capita should be revised upwards.

Item Type:Working Paper or Technical Report
Additional Information:Clasificación JEL: Colonialism, Inequality, Latin America, Economic History, Development
Uncontrolled Keywords:Heights, Welfare, Colonialism, Development, Latin America.
Subjects:Social sciences > Economics > Economic history
Social sciences > Economics > Economic development
Series Name:Working Papers
Volume:UNSPECIFIED
Number:14/09
ID Code:9762
References:

Acemoglu, D., Johnson, S. y Robinson, J. (2002), “Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 117, pp. 1231-1294.

Adams, D. R. (1986), “Prices and Wages in Maryland, 1750-1850”, The Journal of Economic History, 46, 3, pp. 625-645.

A’Hearn, B. A. (2003), “Anthropometric Evidence on Living Standards in Northern Italy, 1730-1860”, The Journal of Economic History, 63, 2, pp. 351-381.

A´Hearn, B. A. and Komlos, J. (2003), Improvements in maximun likelihood estimators of truncated normal samples with prior knowledge of . A simulation based study with application to historical height samples, Unpublished Working Paper, University of Munich, Germany.

Allen, R. C., Bengtsson, T. and Dribe, M. (eds.) (2005), Living Standards in the Past, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Allen, R. C. (2001), “The Great Divergence inn European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War”, Explorations in Economic History, 38, pp. 411-447.

-- (2007), “India in the Great Divergence”, Hatton, O’rourke and Taylor (eds.), The New Comparative Economic History, MIT Press, Cambridge, pp. 9-32.

Allen, R. C., Bassino, J. P. , Debin M., Moll-Murata, C. and van zanden, J. L. (2007), “Wages, Prices, and Living Standards in China, 1738-1925: in comparison with Europe, Japan, and India”, Oxford University, Department of Economics, Discussion paper series, n. 316.

Angeles, L. (2007), “Income inequality and colonialism”, European Economic Review, 51, pp. 1155-1176.

Baker, M. J., Brunnschweiler, C. N. and Bulte, E. H. (2008), “Did History Breed Inequality? Endowments and Modern Income Distribution”, Working Paper 08/86, Cer-eth, Zurich.

Bakewell, p. (2004), A History of Latin America, Blackwell, Malden, Mass,, etc.

Bassino, J. P. and MA, D. (2005), “Japanese Unskilled Wages in International Perspective, 1741-1913”, Mimeo.

Baten, J. (2000), “Heights and Real Wages in the 18th and 19th Centuries: An International Overview”, Jahrbuch fuer Wirtschaftsgeschichte, 1, pp. 17-32.

-- (2001), “Climate, grain production, and nutritional status in southern Germany during the XVIIIth century”, Journal of European Economic History, 30, pp. 9-47.

Baten, J., Pelger, I. and Twrdek, L. (2009), “The anthropometric history of Argentina, Brazil and Peru during the 19th and early 20th century”, Economics and Human Biology, forthcoming.

Baten, J., Reis, J. Y Stolz, Y. (2009), The biological standard of living in Portugal 1720-1980. When and why did the Portuguese become the shortest in Europe?, paper presented at XVth World Economic History Congress- Session E6, Utrecht.

Bértola, L. (2005), “A 50 años de la Curva de Kuznets: Crecimiento y distribución del ingreso en Uruguay y otras economías de nuevo asentamiento desde 1870”, Investigaciones en Historia Económica, 3, pp. 135-176.

Bértola, L., Castelnovo, C., Rodríguez, J. and Willebald, H. (2008), “Income distribution in the Latin American Southern Cone during the first globalization boom, ca: 1870-1920”, WP 08-05, Working Papers in Economic History, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. 40

Bértola, L. and Williamson, J. (2006), “Globalization in Latin America before 1940”, Bulmer-Thomas, Coatsworth and Cortés CONDE (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Latin America, v. II, pp. 11-56.

Bilger, B. (2004), “The Height Gap. Why Europeans are getting taller and taller-and Americans aren’t”, The New Yorker, available at http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2004/04/05/040405fa_fact.

Brading, D. A. (1983). "Mineros y comerciantes en el México borbónico, 1763-1810", Fondo de Cultura Económico, México.

Breschi, M. and Pozzi, L. (ed.) (2007), Salute, malattia e sopravvivenza in Italia fra '800 e '900, Forum, Udine.

Bruhn, M and Gallego, F. A. (2008), “Good, Bad, an Ugly Colonial Activities: Studying Development across the Americas”, Policy Research Working Paper 4641, The World Bank.

Burzio, H. F. (1956-1958), Diccionario de la Moneda Hispanoamericana, 2 vols., Fondo Histórico y Bibliográfico José Toribio Medina, Santiago de Chile.

Carson, S. A. (2005), “The biological standard of living in 19th century Mexico and the American West”, Economics and Human Biology, 3, pp. 405-419.

-- (2007), “Mexican body mass index values in the late-19th-century American West”, Economics and Human Biology, 5, pp. 37-47.

Challú, A. (2007), Grain Markets, Food Suply Policies and Living Standards in Late Colonial México, Ph. D. Dissertation, Harvard University.

-- (2009), “Agricultural Crisis and Biological Well-Being in Mexico, 1730-1835”, Historia Agraria, 47, abril 2009, pp. 21-44.

Cinnirella, F. (2008a), “On the Road to Industrialization: Nutritional Status in Saxony, 1690-1850”, Cliometrica, 2, 3, pp. 229-57.

-- (2008b), “Optimist or Pessimists?: A Reconsideration of Nutritional Status in Britain, 1740-1865”, European Review of Economic History, 12, 3, pp. 325-354.

Coatsworth, J. H. (2008), “Inequality, Institutions and Economic Growth in Latin America”, Journal of Latin American Studies, 40, pp. 545-569.

Cogneau, D. (2003), “Colonisation, School and Development in Africa”, DT 2003/01, DIAL.

Crespo, H. (1995), “Los precios del azúcar en Nueva España. Tendencias seculares y comportamiento cíclico”, García Acosta, V. (coord.), Los precios de alimentos y manufacturas novohispanos, Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social, etc., Mexico.

Dobado, R. (1989), “El trabajo en la minas de Almadén, 1750-1855”, Ph.D. dissertation, Universidad Complutense, Madrid. http://eprints.ucm.es/8735/1/DOBADO2.pdf.

-- (2009) “Herencia colonial y desarrollo económico en Iberoamérica: una crítica a la “nueva ortodoxia””, Llopis and Marichal (eds.), Obstáculos al crecimiento económico en Iberoamérica y España, 1790-1850, Instituto José Luís Mora and Marcial Pons, México-Madrid, pp. 253-291.

-- (Forthcoming), “Wages and prices in Bourbon Mexico form an international comparative perspective”, García, Morilla and Ortiz-Villajos, (eds.), Homage to Gabriel Tortella.

Dobado, R. and Marrero (2001), “Minería, crecimiento económico y costes de la independencia en México”, Revista de Historia Económica, XIX, 3, pp. 573-611.

-- (2006), "The Mining-Led Growth in Bourbon Mexico, the Role of the State and the Economic Cost of Independence", Working Papers on Latin America, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University, No. 06/07-1. 41

Engerman, S. L. and Sokoloff, K. L. (1994), “Factor Endowments: Institutions, and Differential Paths of Growth Among New World Economies: A View from Economic Historians of the United States”, NBER Working Paper h0066.

-- (2002), “Factor Endowments, Inequality, and Paths of Development Among New World Economics”, NBER Working Paper w9259.

-- (2005), Colonialism, Inequality, and Long-Run Paths of Development, NBER Working Paper w11057.

Easterly, W. (2006), The White Man’s Burden, The Penguin Press, Nueva York. Ferranti, D. de, Perry, G., Ferreira, F. H. G. and Walton, M. (2004), Inequality in Latin America & the Caribbean: Breaking with History?, The World Bank, Washington.

Florescano, E. (1986), Precios del maíz y crisis agrícolas en México, Ediciones Era, México. Floud, R., Wachter, K. W. and Gregory, A. (1990). Height, health and history: Nutritional status in the United Kingdom, 1750-1980, Cambridge University Press Cambridge.

Frankema, E. H. P. (2006), “The Colonial Origins of Inequality: Exploring the Causes and Consequences of Land Distribution”, Research Memorandum GD-81, Groningen Growth and Development Center.

Garavaglia, J. C. and Marchena, J. (2005), América Latina de los orígenes a la independencia, Crítica, Barcelona.

García Montero, H. (2009), “Estatura y niveles de vida en la España de finales del Antiguo Régimen. El caso de la España interior”, unpublished paper.

Garner, R. L. (1993), Economic Growth and Change in Bourbon Mexico, University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

Grier, R. M. (1999), “Colonial legacies and economic growth”, Public Choice, 98, pp. 317-335. Hamilton, E. J. (1988), Guerra y precios en España, 1651-1800, Alianza, Madrid.

Heintel, M., Sandberg, L. S. and Steckel, R. H. (1998), “Swedish Historical Heights Revisited: New Estimation Techniques and Results”, in KOMLOS and BATEN (eds.), The Biological Standard of Living in Comparative Perspective, Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart, pp. 449-458.

Helpman, E. (2004), The Mystery of Economic Growth, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., etc.

Heyberger, L. (2005), La révolution des corps, Presses Universitaires de Strasbourg, Strasbourg.

Hocquet, J. C. (1995), “Pesos y medidas y la historia de los precios en México. Algunas consideraciones

metodológicas”, GARCÍA ACOSTA (coord.), Los precios de alimentos y manufacturas novohispanos, Instituto de Investigaciones Dr. José María Luís Mora, etc., México, pp. 72-85.

Humboldt, A. von (1822:1991), Ensayo político sobre el reino de la Nueva España, Editorial Porrúa, Mexico.

Kalmanovizt, S. and López, E. (2008), “El ingreso colombiano en el siglo XIX”, Mímeo.

Knight, A. (2002), Mexico. From the Beginning to the Spanish Conquest, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, etc.

Komlos, J. (1989), Nutrition and Economic Development in the Eighteenth-Century Habsburg Monarchy: An Anthropometric History, Princeton University Press, Princeton.

-- (1993), “The secular Trend in the Biological in the United Kingdom”, Economic History Review, 46, 1, 115-144.

-- (2004), “How to (and How Not to) Analyze Deficient Height Samples”, Historical Methods, 37, 4, pp. 160- 173. 42

-- (2007), "On English pygmies and giants: the physical stature of English youth in the late 19th and early 19th centuries", Research in Economic History, 25, pp. 149-168.

Komlos, J. and Baten, J. (2004), “Looking Backward and Looking Forward”, Social Science History, 28 (2), pp. 191-210.

Komlos, J. and Baten, J. (eds.) (1998) The Biological Standard of Living in Comparative Perspective, Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart.

Komlos, J., Hau, M. and Bourguinat, N. (2003), “An Anthropometric History of Early-Modern France”, European Review of Economic History, 7, pp. 159-189.

Komlos, J. and Kim, J. H. (1990), “Estimating Trends in Historical Heights”, Historical Methods, 23, pp. 116-121.

Ladd, D. M. (1992), Génesis y desarrollo de una huelga, Alianza Editorial, Mexico.

López, J. H. and Perry, G. (2008), “Inequality in Latin America: Determinants and Consequences”, Policy Research Working Paper 4504, The World Bank.

López-Alonso, M. and Porras, R. (2007), “Las altas y bajas del crecimiento económico mexicano”, Dobado, Gómez and Márquez (eds.), México y España ¿Historias económicas semejantes?, Fondo de Cultura Económica, México, pp. 651-672.

Love, J. L. (2005), “The Rise and Decline of Economic Structuralism in Latin America: New Dimensions”, Latin American Research Review, 40, 3, pp. 100-125.

Maddison, A. (2009), Statistics on World Population, GDP and Per Capita GDP, 1-2006 AD, http://www.ggdc.net/maddison/.

Marchena, J. (1992), Ejército y milicias en el mundo colonial americano, Madrid, Ed. Mapfre, Colección armas y América.

Márquez, L., Mccaa, R., Storey, R. and Del Angel, A., ( 2005), “Health and Nutrition in Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica”, STECKEL and ROSE (eds.), The Backbone of History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, etc., pp. 307-338.

Martínez-Carrión, J. M. (2009), “La Historia Antropométrica y la historiografía iberoamericana”, Historia Agraria, 47, April, pp. 3-10.

Mironov, B. (2005), “The Burden of Grandeur: Physical and Economic Well-Being of the Russian Population in the Eighteenth century” in Allen, Bengtsson and Dribe (eds.), Living Standards in the Past, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 255-277.

Milanovic, B., Lindert, P. H. and Williamson, J. G. (2008), “Ancient Inequality,” revised version of “Measuring Ancient Inequality,” NBER Working Paper 13550, national Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Mass. (October).

Perry, G., Arias, O., López, J. H., Maloney, W. and Servén, L. (2006), Poverty Reduction and Growth: Virtuous and Vicious Circles, The World Bank, Washington.

Prados de la Escosura, L. (2007a), “Inequality and Poverty in Latin America. A Long-Run Exploration”, Hatton, O’Rourke and Taylor (eds.), The New Comparative Economic History, The MIT Press, Cambridge, pp. 291-315.

(2007b), Lost Decades? Independence and Latin America’s Falling Behind, 1820-1870, Working Papers in Economic History, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, WP 07-18.

Quiroz, E. (2005), Entre el lujo y la subsistencia. Mercado, abastecimiento y precios de la carne en la ciudad de México, 1750-1812, El Colegio de México, etc., México.

Salvatore, R. D. and Baten, J. (1998), “A Most Difficult Case of Estimation: Argentinian Heights, 1770-1840”, Komlos and Baten (eds.), The Biological Standard of Living in Comparative Perspective, Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart, pp. 90-96. 43

Salvatore, R. (1998), “Heights and Welfare in Late-Colonial and Post-Indepenence Argentina”, Komlos and Baten (eds.), The Biological Standard of Living in Comparative Perspective, Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart, pp. 97-121..

Semo, E. (2006), “Los orígenes. De los cazadores y recolectoras a las sociedades tributarias, 22000 a.C.-1519 d.C.”, Semo (coord..), Historia económica de México, UNAM-Oceano, Mexico.

Sokoloff, K. and Villaflor, G. (1982), “The Early Achievement of Modern Stature in America”, Social Science history, 6, 4, pp. 453-481.

Steckel, R. H. (1983), "Height and Per Capita Income", Historical Methods, 16, Winter, pp. 1-7.

-- (1995), “Stature and the standard of living”, Journal of Economic Literature, 33, 4, pp. 1903–1940.

-- (2005), “Health and Nutrition in Pre-Columbian America: The Skeletal Evidence”, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, XXXVI, I, pp. 1-32.

-- (2008), “Biological Measures of the Standard of Living”, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 22, 1, pp. 129- 152.

-- (2009), “Heights and Human Welfare: Recent Developments and New Directions”, Explorations in Economic History, 46, 1, pp.1-23.

Stein, S. J. and B. H. Stein (1970), The Colonial Heritage of Latin America, Oxford University Press, Nueva York.

Storey, R., Márquez, L. and Smith, V. ( 2005), “A Study of Health and Economy of the Last Thousand Years”, Steckel and Rose (eds.), The Backbone of History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, etc., pp. 283- 306.

Suleyman Ö. and Pamuk, S. (2002), “Real Wages and Standards of Living in the Ottoman Empire, 1489- 1914” The Journal of Economic History, v. 62, n. 2, pp. 293-321.

Swann, M. M. (1990), “Migration, mobility, and the mining towns in northern Mexico”, Robinson (ed.), Migration in colonial Spanish America, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 143-181.

Tandeter, E. (1999), “Los trabajadores mineros y el Mercado”, Menegus, M. (coord.), Dos décadas de investigación en historia económica comparada en América Latina”, El Colegio de México, etc. Mexico, pp. 363- 380.

Van Zanden, J. L. (1999), “Wages and the Standards of Living in Europe, 1500-1800”, European Review of Economic History, 3, pp. 175-198.

Van Young, E. (1981), Hacienda and Market in Eighteenth Century Mexico, University of California Press, Berkeley, etc.

Velasco, C. (1989). "Los trabajadores mineros en la Nueva España, 1750-1810", Cardenas, E. (comp.), Historia Económica de México, FCE, Mexico, pp. 563-589.

Vélez-Grajales, R. (2009), “The Biological Standard of Living in Mexico (c. 1953-1982): Concentration of Urban Population and Inter-Regional Inequality”, paper presented at the Mini-Conference A Comparative Approach to Inequality and Development: Latin America and Europe, Madrid, May 8-9.

Ward, H.G. (1828), Mexico in 1827, 2 vols., Henry Colburn, London.

Williamson, J. G. (1999), “Real Wage Inequality and Globalization in Latin America before 1940”, Revista de Historia Económica, XVII (special issue), pp. 101-142.

-- (2002), “Land, Labor, and Globalization in the Third World, 1870–1940”, Journal of Economic History, 62, 1, pp. 55-85.

Deposited On:12 Jan 2010 14:58
Last Modified:06 Feb 2014 08:31

Repository Staff Only: item control page