The Heights of French-Canadian Convicts, 1780s to 1820s

A few weeks ago, Economics & Human Biology informed me (and my co-authors Alex Arsenault Morin and Vadim Kufenko) that our paper on the heights of French-Canadian convicts was accepted for publication. Today, the paper has been made available online. The volume and issue have not yet been determined, but it can be consulted here. The abstract is below:

This paper uses a novel dataset of heights collected from the records of the Quebec City prison between 1813 and 1847 to survey the French-Canadian population of Quebec—which was then known either as Lower Canada or Canada East. Using a birth-cohort approach with 10 year birth cohorts from the 1780s to the 1820s, we find that French-Canadian prisoners grew shorter over the period. Through the whole sample period, they were short compared to Americans. However, French-Canadians were taller either than their cousins in France or the inhabitants of Latin America (except Argentinians). In addition to extending anthropometric data in Canada to the 1780s, we are able to extend comparisons between the Old and New Worlds as well as comparisons between North America and Latin America. We highlight the key structural economic changes and shocks and discuss their possible impact on the anthropometric data.

For those who are interested, the working paper version can be consulted. I offer this possibility for the sake of intellectual honesty as our paper changed in many subtle ways between the WP and the publication in EHB (even if the core result has not changed).


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