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Overcrowding and Infant Mortality: A Tale of Two Cities

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  • Cage, R A
  • Foster, John

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Cage, R A & Foster, John, 2002. "Overcrowding and Infant Mortality: A Tale of Two Cities," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(2), pages 129-149, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scotjp:v:49:y:2002:i:2:p:129-49
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    Cited by:

    1. Hatton, Timothy J. & Bray, Bernice E., 2010. "Long run trends in the heights of European men, 19th-20th centuries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 405-413, December.
    2. Espinoza-Delgado, José & López-Laborda, Julio, 2017. "Nicaragua: evolución de la pobreza multidimensional, 2001-2009," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), April.
    3. Bailey, Roy E & Hatton, Timothy J. & Inwood, Kris, 2014. "Health, Height and the Household at the Turn of the 20th Century," CEPR Discussion Papers 9959, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Hatton, Timothy J. & Martin, Richard M., 2010. "Fertility decline and the heights of children in Britain, 1886-1938," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 505-519, October.
    5. repec:kap:reveho:v:16:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11150-016-9353-x is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:ecr:col070:42008 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Gayle Davis, 2009. "Stillbirth registration and perceptions of infant death, 1900-60: the Scottish case in national context -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 62(3), pages 629-654, August.
    8. Timothy J. Hatton, 2014. "How have Europeans grown so tall?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 349-372.
    9. Espinoza-Delgado, José & López-Laborda, Julio, 2016. "Las tres Is de la pobreza multidimensional en Nicaragua y el diferencial de género en los primeros quince años del siglo XXI, a partir de un enfoque centrado en la persona
      [The three I’s of multidi
      ," MPRA Paper 74997, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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