I study the history of living standards and health broadly defined in many historical periods and places. These research interests have led me to reconstruct real wages for colonial North and Latin America, test the importance of family size on real wage calculations in early modern England, measure how the cost of digesting food influenced calorie availability in England in the past and analyse the physical growth of American slave children to explain their remarkable catch-up growth.
I am currently working on two major research themes. The first, funded by the ESRC, seeks to reconstruct the growth pattern of British children from the mid-nineteenth century to the present to understand how improvements in nutrition, sanitation, and medical knowledge during Britain’s long-run health transition from 1850 onwards influenced children’s growth pattern in terms of height, weight and BMI. The data produced will supply a longer-run perspective on the immediate and intergenerational factors influencing children’s growth in Britain and internationally and indicate how the shift from an unhealthy to more healthy growth pattern took place.
You can read more about the project on its website here.
The second research theme attempts to understand how health conditions in utero and in early life have changed over time and influenced cohort changes in health and health across the life course. I have just completed a working paper that rather shockingly (at least to me) argues that fetal health may not have improved in North America or Western or Northern Europe over the past 150 years. I will also be starting a project shortly analysing stillbirth rates in Sweden in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. To help develop these ideas in collaboration with people in other disciplines, I co-organised an interdisciplinary workshop with Prof Mark Hanson (Director of the Institute of Developmental Sciences, University of Southampton) in October 2014 entitled ‘Beyond birth weight: measuring early life health past, present and future’. This workshop has led to a number of collaborative projects, including a recent publication in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
You can find a report about the workshop and read more about it at the website here.
EH101 The Internationalisation of Economic Growth, 1870 to the present day
EH237 Theories and Evidence in Economic History
EH454 Human Health in History
Economic History Masters Dissertation courses
View Dr Schneider's CV here [PDF]