IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/ehbiol/v35y2019icp42-50.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

What explains cross-city variation in mortality during the 1918 influenza pandemic? Evidence from 438 U.S. cities

Author

Listed:
  • Clay, Karen
  • Lewis, Joshua
  • Severnini, Edson

Abstract

Disparities in cross-city pandemic severity during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic remain poorly understood. This paper uses newly assembled historical data on annual mortality across 438 U.S. cities to explore the determinants of pandemic mortality. We assess the role of three broad factors: i) pre-pandemic population health and poverty, ii) air pollution, and iii) the timing of onset and proximity to military bases. Using regression analysis, we find that cities in the top tercile of the distribution of pre-pandemic infant mortality had 21 excess deaths per 10,000 residents in 1918 relative to cities in the bottom tercile. Similarly, cities in the top tercile of the distribution of proportion of illiterate residents had 21.3 excess deaths per 10,000 residents during the pandemic relative to cities in the bottom tercile. Cities in the top tercile of the distribution of coal-fired electricity generating capacity, an important source of urban air pollution, had 9.1 excess deaths per 10,000 residents in 1918 relative to cities in the bottom tercile. There was no statistically significant relationship between excess mortality and city proximity to World War I bases or the timing of onset. In a counterfactual analysis, the three statistically significant factors accounted for 50 percent of cross-city variation in excess mortality in 1918.

Suggested Citation

  • Clay, Karen & Lewis, Joshua & Severnini, Edson, 2019. "What explains cross-city variation in mortality during the 1918 influenza pandemic? Evidence from 438 U.S. cities," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 42-50.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:35:y:2019:i:c:p:42-50
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2019.03.010
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1570677X18302909
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.ehb.2019.03.010?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Clay, Karen & Lewis, Joshua & Severnini, Edson, 2018. "Pollution, Infectious Disease, and Mortality: Evidence from the 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 78(4), pages 1179-1209, December.
    2. Jérôme Adda, 2016. "Economic Activity and the Spread of Viral Diseases: Evidence from High Frequency Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(2), pages 891-941.
    3. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "The Impact of Air Pollution on Infant Mortality: Evidence from Geographic Variation in Pollution Shocks Induced by a Recession," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1121-1167.
    4. Noymer, Andrew, 2009. "Testing the influenza-tuberculosis selective mortality hypothesis with Union Army data," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(9), pages 1599-1608, May.
    5. Fletcher, Jason M., 2018. "The effects of in utero exposure to the 1918 influenza pandemic on family formation," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 59-68.
    6. Andrew Noymer & Michel Garenne, 2000. "The 1918 Influenza Epidemic's Effects on Sex Differentials in Mortality in the United States," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 26(3), pages 565-581, September.
    7. Susan Athey & Guido W. Imbens, 2017. "The State of Applied Econometrics: Causality and Policy Evaluation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 3-32, Spring.
    8. Riggs, Paul & Cuff, Timothy, 2013. "Ladies from Hell, Aberdeen Free Gardeners, and the Russian influenza: An anthropometric analysis of WWI-era Scottish soldiers and civilians," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 69-77.
    9. W. Walker Hanlon, 2018. "London Fog: A Century of Pollution and Mortality, 1866-1965," NBER Working Papers 24488, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Janet Currie & Matthew Neidell, 2005. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: What Can We Learn from California's Recent Experience?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1003-1030.
    11. Lembke B., 1918. "√ a. p," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 111(1), pages 709-712, February.
    12. Ogasawara, Kota, 2018. "The long-run effects of pandemic influenza on the development of children from elite backgrounds: Evidence from industrializing Japan," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 125-137.
    13. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
    14. Brian Beach & Joseph P. Ferrie & Martin H. Saavedra, 2018. "Fetal Shock or Selection? The 1918 Influenza Pandemic and Human Capital Development," NBER Working Papers 24725, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    RePEc Biblio mentions

    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economics of Welfare > Health Economics > Economics of Pandemics > Consequences > Mortality

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Slusky, David J.G. & Zeckhauser, Richard J., 2021. "Sunlight and Protection Against Influenza," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C).
    2. Brzezinski, Michal, 2021. "The impact of past pandemics on economic and gender inequalities," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 43(C).
    3. Sergio Correia & Stephan Luck & Emil Verner, 2022. "Pandemics Depress the Economy, Public Health Interventions Do Not: Evidence from the 1918 Flu," Papers 2207.11636, arXiv.org.
    4. Remi Jedwab & Noel D. Johnson & Mark Koyama, 2022. "The Economic Impact of the Black Death," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 132-178, March.
    5. Scott A. Carson, 2020. "Biological Differences between Late 19th and Early 20th Century Urban and Rural Residence," CESifo Working Paper Series 8523, CESifo.
    6. Arthi, Vellore & Parman, John, 2021. "Disease, downturns, and wellbeing: Economic history and the long-run impacts of COVID-19," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    7. Karen Clay & Joshua A. Lewis & Edson R. Severnini & Xiao Wang, 2020. "The Value of Health Insurance during a Crisis: Effects of Medicaid Implementation on Pandemic Influenza Mortality," NBER Working Papers 27120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Richard Franke, 2022. "Poverty, pollution, and mortality: The 1918 influenza pandemic in a developing German economy," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 75(4), pages 1026-1053, November.
    9. Tamara Power & Denise Wilson & Odette Best & Teresa Brockie & Lisa Bourque Bearskin & Eugenia Millender & John Lowe, 2020. "COVID‐19 and Indigenous Peoples: An imperative for action," Journal of Clinical Nursing, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 29(15-16), pages 2737-2741, August.
    10. Sergi Basco & Jordi Domènech & Joan R. Rosés, 2022. "Unequal Mortality During the Spanish Flu," Palgrave Studies in Economic History, in: Pandemics, Economics and Inequality, chapter 0, pages 33-50, Palgrave Macmillan.
    11. Bruna Morais Guidetti & Paula Carvalho Pereda, Edson Roberto Severnini, 2021. "Health Shocks under Hospital Capacity Constraints: Evidence from Air Pollution in São Paulo, Brazil," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2021_05, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    12. Brian Beach & Karen Clay & Martin Saavedra, 2022. "The 1918 Influenza Pandemic and Its Lessons for COVID-19," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 41-84, March.
    13. Scott A. Carson, 2020. "Female and Male Body Mass, Height, and Weight during US Economic Development: 1860s-1930s," CESifo Working Paper Series 8447, CESifo.
    14. Daniel L. Mendoza & Tabitha M. Benney & Rajive Ganguli & Rambabu Pothina & Benjamin Krick & Cheryl S. Pirozzi & Erik T. Crosman & Yue Zhang, 2020. "Understanding the Relationship between Social Distancing Policies, Traffic Volume, Air Quality, and the Prevalence of COVID-19 Outcomes in Urban Neighborhoods," Papers 2008.01828, arXiv.org.
    15. David Benatia & Raphaël Godefroy & Joshua Lewis, 2020. "Estimating COVID-19 Prevalence in the United States: A Sample Selection Model Approach," CIRANO Working Papers 2020s-24, CIRANO.
    16. Lea-Rachel Kosnik & Allen Bellas, 2020. "Drivers of COVID-19 Stay at Home Orders: Epidemiologic, Economic, or Political Concerns?," Economics of Disasters and Climate Change, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 503-514, October.
    17. Amanda Guimbeau & Nidhiya Menon & Aldo Musacchio, 2020. "The Brazilian Bombshell? The Long-Term Impact of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic the South American Way," NBER Working Papers 26929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Guidetti, Bruna & Pereda, Paula & Severnini, Edson R., 2020. "Health Shocks under Hospital Capacity Constraint: Evidence from Air Pollution in Sao Paulo, Brazil," IZA Discussion Papers 13211, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Basco, Sergi & Domenech, Jordi & Rosés, Joan R., 2021. "Unequal Mortality during the Spanish Flu," CEPR Discussion Papers 15783, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    20. Colvin, Christopher L. & McLaughlin, Eoin, 2021. "Death, demography and the denominator: Age-adjusted Influenza-18 mortality in Ireland," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C).
    21. Richard Franke, 2022. "Poverty, pollution, and mortality: The 1918 influenza pandemic in a developing German economy," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 75(4), pages 1026-1053, November.
    22. Christian Møller Dahl & Casper Worm Hansen & Peter Sandholt Jensen, 2022. "The 1918 epidemic and a V‐shaped recession: evidence from historical tax records," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 124(1), pages 139-163, January.
    23. Armillei, Francesco & Filippucci, Francesco & Fletcher, Thomas, 2021. "Did Covid-19 hit harder in peripheral areas? The case of Italian municipalities," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 42(C).
    24. Boberg-Fazlic, Nina & Ivets, Maryna & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese, 2021. "Disease and fertility: Evidence from the 1918–19 influenza pandemic in Sweden," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 43(C).
    25. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Borra, Cristina & Rivera-Garrido, Noelia & Sevilla, Almudena, 2021. "Early adoption of non-pharmaceutical interventions and COVID-19 mortality," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 42(C).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Brian Beach & Karen Clay & Martin Saavedra, 2022. "The 1918 Influenza Pandemic and Its Lessons for COVID-19," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 41-84, March.
    2. Arthi, Vellore & Parman, John, 2021. "Disease, downturns, and wellbeing: Economic history and the long-run impacts of COVID-19," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    3. Richard Franke, 2022. "Poverty, pollution, and mortality: The 1918 influenza pandemic in a developing German economy," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 75(4), pages 1026-1053, November.
    4. Stefan Bauernschuster & Timo Hener & Helmut Rainer, 2017. "When Labor Disputes Bring Cities to a Standstill: The Impact of Public Transit Strikes on Traffic, Accidents, Air Pollution, and Health," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 1-37, February.
    5. Guidetti, Bruna & Pereda, Paula & Severnini, Edson R., 2020. "Health Shocks under Hospital Capacity Constraint: Evidence from Air Pollution in Sao Paulo, Brazil," IZA Discussion Papers 13211, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Philipp Ager & Katherine Eriksson & Ezra Karger & Peter Nencka & Melissa A. Thomasson, 2020. "School Closures During the 1918 Flu Pandemic," NBER Working Papers 28246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Tatyana Deryugina & Garth Heutel & Nolan H. Miller & David Molitor & Julian Reif, 2019. "The Mortality and Medical Costs of Air Pollution: Evidence from Changes in Wind Direction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(12), pages 4178-4219, December.
    8. Sergi Basco & Jordi Domènech & Joan R. Rosés, 2022. "Unequal Mortality During the Spanish Flu," Palgrave Studies in Economic History, in: Pandemics, Economics and Inequality, chapter 0, pages 33-50, Palgrave Macmillan.
    9. Stephanie von Hinke & Emil Sorensen, 2022. "The Long-Term Effects of Early-Life Pollution Exposure: Evidence from the London Smog," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 22/757, School of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    10. Aragón, Fernando M. & Miranda, Juan Jose & Oliva, Paulina, 2017. "Particulate matter and labor supply: The role of caregiving and non-linearities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 295-309.
    11. Guillaume Flamerie de la Chapelle, 2020. "The medium-term impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions. The case of the 1918 influenza in US cities," Working Papers hal-03389177, HAL.
    12. Olexiy Kyrychenko, 2021. "The Impact of the Crisis-inducted Reduction in Air Pollution on Infant Mortality in India: A Policy Perspective," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp702, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    13. Slusky, David J.G. & Zeckhauser, Richard J., 2021. "Sunlight and Protection Against Influenza," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C).
    14. Guillaume Chapelle, 2020. "The medium-term impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions. The case of the 1918 influenza in US cities," Post-Print hal-03389177, HAL.
    15. A. Balietti & S. Datta & S. Veljanoska, 2022. "Air pollution and child development in India," Post-Print hal-03662124, HAL.
    16. Colvin, Christopher L. & McLaughlin, Eoin, 2021. "Death, demography and the denominator: Age-adjusted Influenza-18 mortality in Ireland," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C).
    17. Colvin, Christopher L. & McLaughlin, Eoin, 2020. "Death, demography and the denominator: New Influenza-18 mortality estimates for Ireland," SRERC Working Paper Series SRERCWP2020-2, University College Cork (UCC), Spatial and Regional Economic Research Centre (SRERC).
    18. Fernando M. Aragon & Juan Jose Miranda & Paulina Oliva, 2016. "Particulate matter and labor supply: evidence from Peru," Discussion Papers dp16-01, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
    19. W Walker Hanlon, 2020. "Coal Smoke, City Growth, and the Costs of the Industrial Revolution," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 130(626), pages 462-488.
    20. Ilan Noy & Toshihiro Okubo & Eric Strobl, 2020. "The Japanese Textile Sector and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1920," CESifo Working Paper Series 8651, CESifo.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Influenza; Pandemic; Mortality; Air pollution;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N52 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N72 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • Q40 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - General
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:35:y:2019:i:c:p:42-50. 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: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964 .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964 .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.