The health cost of living in a city: The case of France at the end of the 19th century
Despite a long standing debate over urban living conditions during industrialization, the impact of rural-urban migrations on health and mortality remains an open question. We observe both mortality and geographical mobility in a large longitudinal dataset of French males and show that rural-urban migrants benefited from clear advantages over those who already lived in the city. However, this benefit fades in a few years. Further we find no evidence of a spike in mortality among rural migrants as they encountered the more severe disease environment of cities, instead it seems their initially superior physical human capital was depleted over time.
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