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Malaria: An early indicator of later disease and work level


  • Hong, Sok Chul


This study investigates the effect of early-life exposure to malaria on disease and work level in old age over the past one and a half centuries. Using longitudinal lifetime records of Union Army veterans, I first estimate that exposure to a malarial environment in early life (c.1840) substantially increased the likelihood of having various chronic diseases and not working in old age (c.1900). Second, from data on US cohorts born between 1891 and 1960, I find that those exposed to a higher level of the anti-malaria campaign, which began in 1921, had lower levels of work disability in old age. Third, I seek the same implications for the modern period by linking WHO's country statistics on DALYs among older populations in 2004 to country-level malaria risk in pre-eradication era. In the paper, I discuss possible mechanisms and propose the significance of malaria eradication and early-life conditions from a long-term perspective.

Suggested Citation

  • Hong, Sok Chul, 2013. "Malaria: An early indicator of later disease and work level," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 612-632.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:32:y:2013:i:3:p:612-632
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2013.03.004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2007. "Disease and Development: The Effect of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 925-985, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bénédicte H. Apouey & Gabriel Picone & Joshua Wilde & Joseph Coleman & Robyn Kibler, 2017. "Paludisme et anémie des enfants en Afrique subsaharienne : effet de la distribution de moustiquaires," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 68(2), pages 163-197.
    2. Agénor, Pierre-Richard & Canuto, Otaviano & da Silva, Luiz Pereira, 2014. "On gender and growth: The role of intergenerational health externalities and women's occupational constraints," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 132-147.
    3. Barofsky, Jeremy & Anekwe, Tobenna D. & Chase, Claire, 2015. "Malaria eradication and economic outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from Uganda," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 118-136.
    4. Das, Ashis & Friedman, Jed & Kandpal, Eeshani, 2014. "Does involvement of local NGOs enhance public service delivery ? cautionary evidence from a Malaria-prevention evaluation in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6931, The World Bank.
    5. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-01261988 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:exehis:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:62-81 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Bénédicte H. Apouey & Gabriel Picone & Joshua Wilde & Joseph Coleman & Robyn Kibler, 2016. "Malaria and Anemia among Children in sub-Saharan Africa: the Effect of Mosquito Net Distribution," Working Papers 0116, University of South Florida, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Malaria; Malaria eradication; Chronic disease; Work disability; DALYs;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development


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