Sibhsip size, height and cohort selection: a methodological approach

  • Referencia: Ramon-Muñoz, R., Ramon-Muñoz, J.M. y Candela-Martínez, B.: “Sibhsip size, height and cohort selection: a methodological approach”. 2021, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 182, 3369. DOI:

This article deals with the historical relationship between the number of siblings in a family or household and height, a proxy for biological living standards. Ideally, this relationship is better assessed when we have evidence on the exact number of siblings in a family from its constitution onwards. However, this generally requires applying family reconstitution techniques, which, unfortunately, is not always possible. In this latter case, scholars must generally settle for considering only particular benchmark years using population censuses, from which family and household structures are derived. These data are then linked to the height data for the young males of the family or household. Height data are generally obtained from military records. In this matching process, several decisions have to be taken, which, in turn, are determined by source availability and the number of available observations. Using data from late 19th-century Catalonia, we explore whether the methodology used in matching population censuses and military records as described above might affect the relationship between sibship size and biological living standards and, if so, to what extent. We conclude that, while contextual factors cannot be neglected, the methodological decisions made in the initial steps of research also play a role in assessing this relationship.

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