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The Effects of the Works Progress Administration's Anti-Malaria Programs in Georgia 1932–1947

In: The Microeconomics of New Deal Policy

Listed author(s):
  • Carl T. Kitchens

From 1900 to 1950, malaria rates declined rapidly in the southeast United States. At its peak, malaria infected over 30% of the population. Malaria declined over the period for several reasons: improvements in public infrastructure; development of new insecticides; improvements in agriculture that promoted drainage; increases in incomes; and changes in migration patterns. This paper focuses on public works constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the 1930s and subsequent interventions during the 1940s. To estimate the relationship between these malaria programs and malaria rates, I construct a panel of annual county level malaria rates in Georgia from 1932 to 1947. Between 1932 and 1940 the malaria rate in counties that received WPA malaria projects fell from 25.9 deaths per 100,000 to 5.3 deaths per 100,000. The empirical estimates suggest that WPA malaria projects led to 9.1 fewer deaths per 100,000 or roughly 44% of the observed decline in treated counties. Additional public works constructed by the MCWA during World War II, and the introduction of DDT after 1945 completely eliminated malaria in Georgia by 1947.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Price Fishback, 2013. "The Microeconomics of New Deal Policy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fish12-3, June.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 13204.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:13204
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    1. Werner Troesken, 2004. "Water, Race, and Disease," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number troe04-1.
    2. Fishback, Price V. & Horrace, William C. & Kantor, Shawn, 2006. "The impact of New Deal expenditures on mobility during the Great Depression," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 179-222, April.
    3. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
    4. Depew, Briggs & Fishback, Price V. & Rhode, Paul W., 2013. "New deal or no deal in the Cotton South: The effect of the AAA on the agricultural labor structure," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 466-486.
    5. Hoyt Bleakley, 2010. "Malaria Eradication in the Americas: A Retrospective Analysis of Childhood Exposure," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 1-45, April.
    6. Hong, Sok Chul, 2011. "Malaria and Economic Productivity: A Longitudinal Analysis of the American Case," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(03), pages 654-671, September.
    7. David Cutler & Winnie Fung & Michael Kremer & Monica Singhal & Tom Vogl, 2010. "Early-Life Malaria Exposure and Adult Outcomes: Evidence from Malaria Eradication in India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 72-94, April.
    8. Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 73-117.
    9. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
    10. Brinkley, Garland L., 1997. "The Decline in Southern Agricultural Output, 1860–1880," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(01), pages 116-138, March.
    11. Hong, Sok Chul, 2007. "The Burden of Early Exposure to Malaria in the United States, 1850–1860: Malnutrition and Immune Disorders," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(04), pages 1001-1035, December.
    12. Kitchens, Carl, 2013. "A Dam Problem: TVA's Fight Against Malaria, 1926–1951," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 73(03), pages 694-724, September.
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