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From Cholera Outbreaks to Pandemics: The Role of Poverty and Inequality

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Author Info

  • Nejat Anbarci

    (Department of Economics, Florida International University)

  • Monica Escaleras

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Florida Atlantic University)

  • Charles Register

    (Department of Economics, Florida Atlantic University)

Abstract

Cholera and other diarrheal diseases are the second leading cause of death among the poor globally. The tragedy of this statistic is that it need not be the case. Unlike many afflictions, the impact of cholera can be greatly reduced, if not eliminated, through the collective action of clean water services. This begs the question of why such collective action is absent in much of the world. To address this, we first develop a theoretical model which indicates that the required collective action is an increasing function of both a country’s level of income and income equality. We test these predictions by analyzing 1,032 annual observations arising from 17 relatively poor countries between the years 1980 and 2002. The countries come from the Americas, Africa, and Asia. In the first part of the analysis, we find that the collective action of providing clean water is, as predicted, an increasing function of income and equality. Following this, we find that both the numbers of cases and deaths resulting from a given cholera outbreak are strongly and negatively related to the collective action.

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File URL: http://home.fau.edu/mescaler/web/working%20papers/Cholera.pdf
File Function: Revised version, 2006
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, College of Business, Florida Atlantic University in its series Working Papers with number 05003.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2005
Date of revision: Feb 2006
Handle: RePEc:fal:wpaper:05003

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Related research

Keywords: Cholera; diarrheal diseases; pandemics; per capita income; inequality;

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References

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  1. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2002. " Growth Is Good for the Poor," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 195-225, September.
  2. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 2002. "Tropics, Germs, and Crops: How Endowments Influence Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 9106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-91, September.
  5. Norman Gemmell & Oliver Morrissey, 2005. "Distribution and Poverty Impacts of Tax Structure Reform in Developing Countries: How Little We Know," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 23(2), pages 131-144, 03.
  6. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2000. "Tropical Underdevelopment," CID Working Papers 57, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  7. Andrew D. Mellinger & Jeffrey D. Sachs & John L. Gallup, 1999. "Climate, Water Navigability, and Economic Development," CID Working Papers 24, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  8. David M. Cutler & Grant Miller, 2004. "The Role of Public Health Improvements in Health Advances: The 20th Century United States," NBER Working Papers 10511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Mattias Lundberg & Lyn Squire, 2003. "The simultaneous evolution of growth and inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(487), pages 326-344, 04.
  10. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Chongwoo Choe & Paul A. Raschky, 2011. "Media, Institutions, and Government Action: Prevention vs. Palliation in the Time of Cholera," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 23-11, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  2. Chongwoo Choe & Paul A. Raschky, 2011. "Media, Democracy, and Government Action: Prevention vs. Palliation in the Time of Cholera," ISER Discussion Paper 0812, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.

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