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Long-Term Effects of Access to Health Care: Medical Missions in Colonial India

Author

Listed:
  • Rossella Calvi

    () (Boston College)

  • Federico G. Mantovanelli

    () (The Analysis Group)

Abstract

We study the long-term effect of access to health care on individuals' health status by investigating the relationship between the proximity to a Protestant medical mission in colonial India and current health outcomes. We use individuals' anthropometric indicators to measure health status and geocoding tools to calculate the distance between the location of individuals today and Protestant health facilities founded in the nineteenth century. We exploit variation in activities of missionary societies and use an instrumental variable approach to show that proximity to a Protestant medical mission has a causal effect on individuals' health status. We find that a 50 percent reduction in the distance from a historical medical facility increases current individuals' body mass index by 0.4. We investigate some potential transmission channels and we find that the long-run effect of access to health care is not driven by persistence of infrastructure, but by improvements in individuals' health potential and changes in hygiene and health habits.

Suggested Citation

  • Rossella Calvi & Federico G. Mantovanelli, 2015. "Long-Term Effects of Access to Health Care: Medical Missions in Colonial India," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 883, Boston College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:883
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    Cited by:

    1. Menon, Nidhiya & McQueeney, Kathleen, 2015. "Christianity and Infant Health in India," IZA Discussion Papers 9177, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Becker, Sascha O. & Pfaff, Steven & Rubin, Jared, 2016. "Causes and consequences of the Protestant Reformation," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1-25.
    3. Becker, Sascha O. & Rubin, Jared & Woessmann, Ludger, 2020. "Religion in Economic History : A Survey," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1273, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    4. Julia Cage & Valeria Rueda, 2017. "Sex and the Mission: The Conflicting Effects of Early Christian Investments on the HIV Epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa," Sciences Po publications 12192, Sciences Po.
    5. Castelló-Climent, Amparo & Chaudhary, Latika & Mukhopadhyay, Abhiroop, 2015. "Tertiary Education and Prosperity: Catholic Missionaries to Luminosity in India," IZA Discussion Papers 9441, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Remi Jedwab & Felix Meier zu Selhausen & Alexander Moradi, 2018. "The Economics of Missionary Expansion: Evidence from Africa and Implications for Development," CSAE Working Paper Series 2018-07, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    7. Alpino,Matteo & Hammersmark,Eivind Moe, 2020. "The Role of Historical Christian Missions in the Location of World Bank Aid in Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9146, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    India; health; body mass index; historical persistence; Protestant missions.;

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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