Author(s): Bleakley H
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Abstract This study uses the malaria-eradication campaigns in the United States (circa 1920), and in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico (circa 1955) to measure how much childhood exposure to malaria depresses labor productivity. The campaigns began because of advances in health technology, which mitigates concerns about reverse causality. Malarious areas saw large drops in the disease thereafter. Relative to non-malarious areas, cohorts born after eradication had higher income as adults than the preceding generation. These cross-cohort changes coincided with childhood exposure to the campaigns rather than to pre-existing trends. Estimates suggest a substantial, though not predominant, role for malaria in explaining cross-region differences in income.
This article was published in Am Econ J Appl Econ
and referenced in Business and Economics Journal