C. Hoyt Bleakley photo

Malaria in the Americas: A Retrospective Analysis of Childhood Exposure

Publication Abstract

Bleakley, C. Hoyt. 2010. "Malaria in the Americas: A Retrospective Analysis of Childhood Exposure." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2(2).

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.

10.1257/app.2.2.1

PMCID: PMC3810960. (Pub Med Central)

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