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Overcrowding and Infant Mortality: A Tale of Two Cities

  • Cage, R A
  • Foster, John

Using detailed historical data for the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, evidence is found in support of the hypothesis that overcrowding is a significant cause of infant mortality. We distinguish between voluntary overcrowding (due to the budgetary choices of poor families) and involuntary overcrowding (due to market failure in the provision of an adequate supply of appropriate housing). We found that, over the fifty year period, 1911-61, Glasgow's infant mortality rate was significantly higher than that of Edinburgh, despite their close geographical proximity, and that a large part of the difference can be attributed to involuntary overcrowding in the first half of the twentieth century. We argue that this was due to the distinctly different housing policies adopted by the two cities, with important lessons for present day public authorities. Copyright 2002 by Scottish Economic Society.

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Article provided by Scottish Economic Society in its journal Scottish Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 49 (2002)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 129-49

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scotjp:v:49:y:2002:i:2:p:129-49
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