, 2:229 | Cite as

On the road to industrialization: nutritional status in Saxony, 1690–1850

  • Francesco CinnirellaEmail author
Original Paper


Saxony was one of the pioneer regions in the German modern economic growth. We analyze the Saxon nutritional status to infer the effects of early industrialization on the population standard of living. We find that the nutritional status in the eighteenth century was relatively high and heights fluctuated mainly because of wars. From the 1770s the average nutritional status declined steadily, with the exception of the Napoleonic period, until the mid of the nineteenth century. The decline, particularly accentuated after 1815, is related to the high share of urbanization, the increase in the relative price of food, and the strong dependence on food imports.


Heights Nutritional status Biological standard of living Industrial revolution 

JEL Classification

N33 N43 N54 



Francesco Cinnirella. The author is particularly grateful to John Komlos for his precious comments. The author also thanks Jörg Baten, Scott Carson, Michela Coppola, Hubertus Kiesewetter, Marco Sunder, and two anonymous referees for their comments. Thanks are also due to the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft which funded the data collection and to T. Barth, B. Lepši,and H. Prée who collected the data. An earlier version of the paper was presented at the Sixth Conference of the European Historical Economics Society in Istanbul, at the 30th annual meeting of the Social Science History Association in Portland, Oregon, and at the 3rd international conference on Economics and Human Biology held in Strasbourg, France. Possible remaining errors are those of the author.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics, Institute of Economic HistoryUniversity of MunichMunichGermany

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