How many calories? Food availability in England and Wales in the 18th and 19th centuries

Harris, Bernard and Floud, Roderick and Hong, Sok Chul (2015) How many calories? Food availability in England and Wales in the 18th and 19th centuries. Research in Economic History, 31. pp. 111-191. ISSN 0363-3268

[img]
Preview
PDF (Harris_etal_REH2015_food_availability_in_england_and_wales)
Harris_etal_REH2015_food_availability_in_england_and_wales.pdf
Accepted Author Manuscript

Download (3MB)| Preview

    Abstract

    In The Changing Body (Cambridge University Press and NBER, 2011), we presented a series of estimates showing the number of calories available for human consumption in England and Wales at various points in time between 1700 and 1909/13. We now seek to correct an error in our original figures and to compare the corrected figures with those published by a range of other authors. We also include new estimates showing the calorific value of meat and grains imported from Ireland. Disagreements with other authors reflect differences over a number of issues, including the amount of land under cultivation, the extraction and wastage rates for cereals and pulses and the number of animals supplying meat and dairy products. We consider recent attempts to achieve a compromise between these estimates and challenge claims that there was a dramatic reduction in either food availability or the average height of birth cohorts in the late-eighteenth century.