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The impact of social workers on infant mortality in inter-war Tokyo: Bayesian dynamic panel quantile regression with endogenous variables


  • Kota Ogasawara

    () (Department of Social Engineering, Graduate School of Decision Science and Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 2-12-1, Ookayama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 152-8552, Japan)

  • Genya Kobayashi

    (Faculty of Law, Politics & Economics, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan)


Although no comprehensive sickness insurance system existed in Japan until the mid-twentieth century, the infant mortality rate in Japan started to decline from the early twentieth century onwards, specifically owing to health improvements in low-income areas. This paper focuses on the impact of social workers called Homen iin on reducing the infant mortality rate in inter-war Tokyo. These social workers were in charge of the medical casework and provided access to medical treatment for low-income households under the District Committees System. To examine how the activities of these social workers influenced infant mortality, this paper analyses panel data for Tokyo between 1926 and 1937. By employing the dynamic panel quantile regression approach, it is found that the activities of social workers played a vital role in mitigating the risk of infant mortality, especially in areas that had a higher infant mortality rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Kota Ogasawara & Genya Kobayashi, 2015. "The impact of social workers on infant mortality in inter-war Tokyo: Bayesian dynamic panel quantile regression with endogenous variables," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 9(1), pages 97-130, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:9:y:2015:i:1:p:97-130

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    Cited by:

    1. Driva, Anastasia & Bauernschuster, Stefan & Hornung, Erik, 2016. "Bismarck’s Health Insurance and the Mortality Decline," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145577, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. repec:spr:cliomt:v:12:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11698-016-0148-3 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Dynamic panel data; Endogenous variable; Infant mortality; Quantile regression; Social worker;

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East


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