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Explaining Long-Term Trends in Health and Longevity

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Stanley Engerman
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  • Date Published: August 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107665811

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About the Authors
  • Explaining Long-Term Trends in Health and Longevity is a collection of essays by Nobel laureate Robert W. Fogel on the theory and measurement of ageing and health-related variables. Dr Fogel analyzes historic data on height, health, nutrition and life expectation to provide a clearer understanding of the past, illustrate the costs and benefits of using such measures and note the difficulties of drawing conclusions from data intended for different purposes. Dr Fogel explains how the basic findings of the anthropometric approach to historical analysis have helped reinterpret the nature of economic growth. Rising life expectancies and lower disease rates in countries experiencing economic growth highlight the importance of improving nutrition and agricultural productivity.

    • General enough study to appeal to a non-specialist audience
    • Up-to-date analysis incorporating current policy discussions regarding health care costs and ageing
    • Provides an overview of anthropomorphic research conducted in the past 25 years
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Initially met with skepticism, anthropometric history has, over the past decades, become established as an important tool in studies of long-term changes in health and well-being, largely due to the work of Robert Fogel. This comprehensive collection of essays, written over a period of 25 years, gives new students an excellent overview of his contribution to the field, which has inspired many of us. Each essay shows Fogel's eminent ability to develop a synthesis based on a diversity of data, sometimes rich, sometimes meager. The story of how first food, then environment, and now lifestyles determine the length of our lives is compelling, if not without challenge.' Tommy Bengtsson, Lund University

    'This book shows why Robert Fogel has been, for 50 years, a leader among economic historians. Theoretical insights from economics are combined with close attention to the collection and interpretation of historical evidence; the results are expressed in a lucid exposition of complex arguments, which have led to major revisions in our understanding of the past.' Professor Sir Roderick Floud, Gresham College

    'This book collects some of Robert Fogel's most important essays on the analysis of long-term trends in health and nutrition. It demonstrates how the detailed analysis of historical data can generate new insights into contemporary social problems. It offers a characteristically optimistic account of the causes and consequences of improvements in human health since the start of the eighteenth century and the challenges that now confront us.' Bernard Harris, University of Southampton

    'For those already familiar with Fogel's work, this volume conveniently packages some of his essays in one volume and ends with an interview with Fogel.' Dora L. Costa, Journal of Economic Literature

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107665811
    • length: 187 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.28kg
    • contains: 12 b/w illus. 19 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Foreword Stanley Engerman
    2. Secular changes in American and British stature and nutrition
    3. Second thoughts on the European escape from hunger: famines, chronic malnutrition, and mortality rates
    4. Trends in physiological capital: implications for equity in health care
    5. Changes in disparities and chronic diseases through the course of the twentieth century
    6. Some common problems in analysis and measurement
    7. Afterword: a conversation with the author.

  • Author

    Robert W. Fogel, University of Chicago
    Robert W. Fogel is Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of American Institutions at the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Dr Fogel was the joint winner (with Douglass North) of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1993. He is the author of several books, including The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700–2100: Europe, America, and the Third World (Cambridge University Press, 2004) and The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism (2002). He co-authored The Changing Body: Health, Nutrition, and Human Development in the Western World since 1700 (Cambridge University Press, 2011).


    Stanley Engerman

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