Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

A Scientific Revolution that Made Life Longer. Schooling and the Decline of Infant Mortality in Europe

Contents:

Author Info

  • Ljungberg, Jonas

    ()
    (Department of Economic History, Lund University)

Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    This paper addresses the decline in infant mortality that occurred with a remarkable synchronization across Europe around the turn of the century 1900. It is the argument of this paper that this development is not just, as in the conventional view, the side effect of economic growth but could be derived through a cumulative chain of events, starting with the discovery of the germ theory. Mokyr has argued, that notwithstanding the ubiquitous impact of the germ theory in several fields, its first big effect, as a decline in mortality, came through changed behaviour in the household. What makes this plausible is that the turn-down occurred at the about the same time irrespective of the wide variations in levels of infant mortality, and irrespective of levels of aggregate income and economic growth. Growth was certainly crucial for sustaining the decline in mortality but the synchronized change of the trend draws attention to a shift in behaviour. A critical question for this argument is if the germ theory and its implications were so quickly and widely diffused. Schooling was an instrument for this diffusion and could be so since there existed an international movement around school hygiene which made the impact of the germ theory more pervasive than if it had only influenced via the curriculum. This hypothesis is supported by a cross-country model which singles out the enrolment in primary schools as an explanatory factor for the decline in infant mortality 1890-1910, and the more so when female enrolment is considered.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.ekh.lu.se/media/ekh/forskning/lund_papers_in_economic_history/127.pdf
    Our checks indicate that this address may not be valid because: 404 Not Found. If this is indeed the case, please notify (Kerstin Enflo) or (Benny Carlsson)
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Economic History, Lund University in its series Lund Papers in Economic History with number 127.

    as in new window
    Length: 26 pages
    Date of creation: 20 Feb 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:luekhi:0127

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Box 7083, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden
    Phone: +46 46-222 00 00
    Fax: +46 46-13 15 85
    Web page: http://www.ekh.lu.se/
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords: infant mortality; longevity; germ theory; school hygiene; schooling;

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2000. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," Arbetsrapport 2000:5, Institute for Futures Studies.
    2. Jamison, Eliot A. & Jamison, Dean T. & Hanushek, Eric A., 2007. "The effects of education quality on income growth and mortality decline," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 771-788, December.
    3. Jonas Ljungberg & Anders Nilsson, 2009. "Human capital and economic growth: Sweden 1870–2000," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 3(1), pages 71-95, January.
    4. Carlo A. Corsini & Pier Paolo Viazzo, 1993. "The Decline of Infant Mortality in Europe, 1800-1950: Four national case studies," Historical Perspectives hisper93/3, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.
    5. Samuel H. Preston, 1996. "American Longevity: Past, Present, and Future," Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs 7, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
    6. Mokyr, Joel, 1993. "Technological Progress and the Decline of European Mortality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 324-30, May.
    7. Mokyr, Joel, 2000. "Why “More Work for Mother?” Knowledge and Household Behavior, 1870–1945," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 1-41, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:luekhi:0127. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kerstin Enflo) or (Benny Carlsson).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.