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Title page for ETD etd-04012007-150758

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Cvrcek, Tomas
Author's Email Address tomas.cvrcek@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-04012007-150758
Title Three Essays in Economic History
Degree PhD
Department Economics
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Jeremy Atack Committee Chair
Mario J. Crucini Committee Member
Peter L. Rousseau Committee Member
Robert A. Margo Committee Member
Rowena Olegario Committee Member
William Collins Committee Member
  • communism
  • anthropometry
  • bargaining
  • fertility
  • role of women
  • height
Date of Defense 2007-03-16
Availability unrestricted
Chapter I investigates how the fertility, marriage and labor supply decisions of American women changed between 1870 and 1930. The proposed explanation for the historical trends in marriage and labor market behavior is based on the premise that gradual improvements in technology drew single women into the labor market in increasing numbers. The opportunity to earn own income and make their own consumption and dating decisions strengthened young women’s bargaining position on the marriage market which subsequently affected other areas of life: timing of marriage, marital fertility, labor supply in marriage and intra-household resource allocation.

Chapters II and III look at the developments and changes in the living standards under early Communism in Czechoslovakia. A newly collected sample of anthropometric evidence sheds light on the underlying trends in biological welfare and the extent on inequalities. As non-economic indicators of living standards, heights and weight of adolescent boys from the schools in Liberec show that living standards were increasing during the 1950s and early 1960s but were not immune to fluctuations due to business cycle. Also, differences in living standards between different strata of the society seem to have persisted in spite of strong pro-egalitarian policies of the Communist government. Moreover, the nature of short-term growth of the Liberec boys (the seasonal cycle) indicates that the supply of crucial nutrients was perhaps irregular and erratic, particularly during the spring months.

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