Abstract

Between 1863 and 1890, phylloxera destroyed 40% of French vineyards. Using the regional variation in the timing of this shock, we identify and examine the effects on adult height, health, and life expectancy of children born in the years and regions affected by the phylloxera. The shock decreased long-run height, but it did not affect other dimensions of health, including life expectancy. We find that those born in affected regions were about 1.8 millimeters shorter than others at age 20, a significant effect since average heights grew by only 2 centimeters in the entire nineteenth century.

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