Inequality in Japan (1892-1941): physical stature, income, and health

Econ Hum Biol. 2006 Jan;4(1):62-88. doi: 10.1016/j.ehb.2005.10.002. Epub 2005 Dec 20.


This paper investigates the relationship between physical stature, per capita income, health, and regional inequality in Japan at the prefecture-level for the period 1892-1941. The analysis shows that inequality in income and access to health services explains differences in average height of the population across the 47 Japanese prefectures during this period and that variation in income contributed to changes in height during the 1930s. Annual regional time series of height indicate that Japan experienced a regional convergence in biological welfare before 1914, and that a divergence occurred during the interwar period; personal inequality followed a similar pattern.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Height*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data*
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Military Personnel
  • Models, Statistical
  • Risk Factors