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The Captain of the Men of Death and His Shadow: Long-Run Impacts of Early Life Pneumonia Exposure

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  • Bhalotra, Sonia R.

    ()
    (University of Essex)

  • Venkataramani, Atheendar

    ()
    (Massachusetts General Hospital)

Abstract

We exploit the introduction of sulfa drugs in 1937 to identify the causal impact of exposure to pneumonia in infancy on later life well-being and productivity in the United States. Using census data from 1980-2000, we find that cohorts born after the introduction of sulfa experienced increases in schooling, income, and the probability of employment, and reductions in disability rates. These improvements were larger for those born in states with higher pre-intervention levels of pneumonia as these were the areas that benefited most from the availability of sulfa drugs. These estimates are, in general, larger and more robust to specification for men than for women. With the exception of cognitive disability and poverty for men, the estimates for African Americans are smaller and less precisely estimated than those for whites. This is despite our finding that African Americans experienced larger absolute reductions in pneumonia mortality after the arrival of sulfa. We suggest that pre-Civil Rights barriers may have inhibited their translating improved endowments into gains in education and employment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6041.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6041

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Keywords: disability; schooling; infectious diseases; medical innovation; antibiotics; pneumonia; mortality trends; income; early childhood;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Janet Currie & Tom Vogl, 2012. "Early-Life Health and Adult Circumstance in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 18371, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Pogge, Thomas, 2012. "Ethical and Economic Perspectives on Global Health Interventions," IZA Policy Papers 38, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Wüst, Miriam, 2012. "Early interventions and infant health: Evidence from the Danish home visiting program," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 484-495.
  4. Sonia Bhalotra & Thomas Pogge, 2012. "Ethical and Economic Perspectives on Global Health Interventions Abstract: Interventions that improve childhood health directly improve the quality of life and, in addition, have multiplier effects, p," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 12/286, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  5. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie & Mariesa Herrmann, 2011. "From Infant to Mother: Early Disease Environment and Future Maternal Health," NBER Working Papers 17676, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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