Spatial Convergence in Height in Central Europe, 1890-1910

  • Marek Brabec
  • John Komlos

Abstract

We examine spatial convergence in biological well-being in the Habsburg Monarchy, circa 1890-1910, on the basis of evidence of the physical stature of 21-year-old military recruits, disaggregated into 15 Districts. We find that the shorter the population in 1890, the faster its height grew thereafter. Hence, there was convergence in physical stature between the peripheral areas of the monarchy (located in today’s Poland/Ukraine, Romania, and Slovakia) and its core (located in today’s Austria, Czech Republic, and Hungary). The difference in trends between the trend in height in the Polish District of Przemysl and in Vienna was about 0.9 cm per decade, in favor of the former. Convergence among the core Districts themselves was minimal or non-existent, whereas the convergence among the peripheral Districts was more pronounced. Spatial convergence also took place between the peripheral regions and the more developed ones. The pattern is somewhat reminiscent of modern findings on convergence clubs in the global economy.
Published
2009-04-15
Section
Articles