IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/3791.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Economic Effects of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic

Author

Listed:
  • Brainerd, Elizabeth
  • Siegler, Mark V

Abstract

The 1918-19 influenza epidemic killed at least 40 million people worldwide and 675,000 people in the United States, far exceeding the combat deaths experienced by the US in the two World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam combined. Besides its extraordinary virulence, the 1918-19 epidemic was also unique in that a disproportionate number of its victims were men and women ages 15 and 44, giving the age profile of mortality a distinct ‘W’ shape rather than the customary ‘U’ shape, and leading to extremely high death rates in the prime working ages. We examine the impact of this exogenous shock on subsequent economic growth using data on US states for the 1919-30 period. Controlling for numerous factors including initial income, density, urbanization, human capital, climate, the sectoral composition of output, geography, and the legacy of slavery, the results indicate a large and robust positive effect of the influenza epidemic on per capita income growth across states during the 1920s.

Suggested Citation

  • Brainerd, Elizabeth & Siegler, Mark V, 2003. "The Economic Effects of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic," CEPR Discussion Papers 3791, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3791
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=3791
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Neal, Larry, 2000. "A Shocking View of Economic History," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(2), pages 317-334, June.
    2. Kevin D. Hoover & Stephen J. Perez, 1999. "Data mining reconsidered: encompassing and the general-to-specific approach to specification search," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 2(2), pages 167-191.
    3. Romer, Christina D., 1988. "World War I and the postwar depression A reinterpretation based on alternative estimates of GNP," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 91-115, July.
    4. Mitchener, Kris James & McLean, Ian W, 2003. "The Productivity of US States since 1880," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 73-114, March.
    5. Balke, Nathan S & Gordon, Robert J, 1989. "The Estimation of Prewar Gross National Product: Methodology and New Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 38-92, February.
    6. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1987. "Economic Behaviour in Adversity," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226342825, Febrero.
    7. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    8. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    9. Goldin, Claudia, 1998. "America's Graduation from High School: The Evolution and Spread of Secondary Schooling in the Twentieth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 345-374, June.
    10. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    11. P.C.B. Phillips, 1988. "Reflections on Econometric Methodology," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 64(4), pages 344-359, December.
    12. Rebelo, Sergio, 1991. "Long-Run Policy Analysis and Long-Run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 500-521, June.
    13. Phillips, P C B, 1988. "Reflections on Econometric Methodology," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 64(187), pages 344-359, December.
    14. Paul M. Romer, 1987. "Crazy Explanations for the Productivity Slowdown," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 163-210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Jonathan Temple, 1995. "Testing the augmented Solow Model," Economics Papers 18 & 106., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    2. Cem Ertur & Wilfried Koch, 2006. "The Role of Human Capital and Technological Interdependence in Growth and Convergence Processes: International Evidence," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_029, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    3. Galimberti, Jaqueson K., 2009. "Conditioned Export-Led Growth Hypothesis: A Panel Threshold Regressions Approach," MPRA Paper 13417, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Diana Dimitrova, 2018. "The 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics," Economic Thought journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 6, pages 98-152.
    5. Kevin D. Hoover & Stephen J. Perez, 2004. "Truth and Robustness in Cross‐country Growth Regressions," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 66(5), pages 765-798, December.
    6. Nowak-Lehmann D., Felicitas, 2003. "Trade Policy and its Impact On Economic Growth: The Chilean Experience in the Period of 1960 to 1998," Applied Econometrics and International Development, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 3(2).
    7. Karras Georgios, 2001. "Long-Run Economic Growth In Europe: Is It Endogenous Or Neoclassical?," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(2), pages 63-76, June.
    8. Harris Dellas & Kevin Hoover, 2003. "Truth and Robustness in Cross-country Growth Regressions," Working Papers 11, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    9. Antonio Ciccone & Giovanni Peri & Douglas Almond, "undated". "Capital, Wages, and Growth: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 152, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    10. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 1996. "The Poverty of Nations: A Quantitative Exploration," NBER Working Papers 5414, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Castle Jennifer L. & Doornik Jurgen A & Hendry David F., 2011. "Evaluating Automatic Model Selection," Journal of Time Series Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-33, February.
    12. Charles R. Hulten & Robert M. Schwab, 1993. "Endogenous Growth, Public Capital, and the Convergence of Regional Manufacturing Industries," NBER Working Papers 4538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Pessôa, Samuel de Abreu, 1999. "Um modelo de acumulação de capital físico e humano: um diálogo com a economia do trabalho," FGV EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 345, EPGE Brazilian School of Economics and Finance - FGV EPGE (Brazil).
    14. Folster, Stefan & Henrekson, Magnus, 1999. "Growth and the public sector: a critique of the critics," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 337-358, June.
    15. Kuo-Hsing Kuo & Cheng-Te Lee, 2017. "Economic Integration, Growth and Income Distribution," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(1), pages 59-71, March.
    16. Edward Barbier, 1999. "Endogenous Growth and Natural Resource Scarcity," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 14(1), pages 51-74, July.
    17. Stephen Turnovsky, 2000. "Growth in an Open Economy: Some Recent Developments," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 0015, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
    18. Sefa Awaworyi Churchill & Mehmet Ugur & Siew Ling Yew, 2017. "Does Government Size Affect Per-Capita Income Growth? A Hierarchical Meta-Regression Analysis," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 93(300), pages 142-171, March.
    19. Adriana Di Liberto, 2007. "Convergence and Divergence in Neoclassical Growth Models with Human Capital," Economia politica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 289-322.
    20. Chad Turner & Robert Tamura & Sean Mulholland, 2013. "How important are human capital, physical capital and total factor productivity for determining state economic growth in the United States, 1840–2000?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 319-371, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    1918; economic growth; flu; influenza;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3791. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.