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Reassessing the Standard of Living in the Soviet Union: An Analysis Using Archival and Anthropometric Data

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 2010

Elizabeth Brainerd*
Affiliation:
Susan and Barton Winokur Professor of Economics and Women's and Gender Studies, Department of Economics, Brandeis University, Mailstop 021, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA 02454-9110; and Research Fellow, CEPR, IZA, and WDI. E-mail: ebrainer@brandeis.edu.

Abstract

This article uses anthropometric and archival data to reassess the standard of living in the Soviet Union. In the prewar period, the population was small in stature and sensitive to the political and economic upheavals experienced in the country. Significant improvements in child height, adult stature, and infant mortality were recorded from approximately 1945 to 1970. While this period of physical growth was followed by stagnation in heights, the physical growth record of the Soviet population compares favorably with that of other European countries at a similar level of development in this period.

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ARTICLES
Copyright
Copyright © The Economic History Association 2010

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