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Sewers’ diffusion and the decline of mortality: The case of Paris, 1880–1914

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  • Kesztenbaum, Lionel
  • Rosenthal, Jean-Laurent

Abstract

It is common to argue that water infrastructure innovations improve life expectancy. Yet the benefits of clean water depend on a mechanism to dispose of waste water. We draw on the historical experience of a large industrial city to estimate the impact of the spread of the sewer system. Using a longitudinal data set on mortality and rents for each of Paris’ 80 neighborhoods we show that sanitation contributed several years to life expectancy. These results point out the multiplicity of infrastructure needed to help decrease mortality.

Suggested Citation

  • Kesztenbaum, Lionel & Rosenthal, Jean-Laurent, 2017. "Sewers’ diffusion and the decline of mortality: The case of Paris, 1880–1914," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 174-186.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:174-186
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jue.2016.03.001
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    Cited by:

    1. Gallardo Albarran, Daniel, 2018. "Sanitary infrastructures and the decline of mortality in Germany, 1877-1913," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-176, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
    2. Kim Andersson & Sarah Dickin & Arno Rosemarin, 2016. "Towards “Sustainable” Sanitation: Challenges and Opportunities in Urban Areas," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(12), pages 1-14, December.
    3. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:29:y:2018:i:c:p:198-210 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Differential mortality; Wealth; Urbanization; Paris; Sanitation;

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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