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The Captain of the Men of Death and His Shadow: Long-Run Impacts of Early Life Pneumonia Exposure

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  • Bhalotra, Sonia R.

    () (University of Essex)

  • Venkataramani, Atheendar

    () (Massachusetts General Hospital)

Abstract

We exploit the introduction of sulfa drugs in 1937 to identify the causal impact of exposure to pneumonia in infancy on later life well-being and productivity in the United States. Using census data from 1980-2000, we find that cohorts born after the introduction of sulfa experienced increases in schooling, income, and the probability of employment, and reductions in disability rates. These improvements were larger for those born in states with higher pre-intervention levels of pneumonia as these were the areas that benefited most from the availability of sulfa drugs. These estimates are, in general, larger and more robust to specification for men than for women. With the exception of cognitive disability and poverty for men, the estimates for African Americans are smaller and less precisely estimated than those for whites. This is despite our finding that African Americans experienced larger absolute reductions in pneumonia mortality after the arrival of sulfa. We suggest that pre-Civil Rights barriers may have inhibited their translating improved endowments into gains in education and employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Venkataramani, Atheendar, 2011. "The Captain of the Men of Death and His Shadow: Long-Run Impacts of Early Life Pneumonia Exposure," IZA Discussion Papers 6041, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6041
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bhalotra, Sonia & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese, 2014. "Life Expectancy and Mother-Baby Interventions. Evidence from A Historical Trial," Ruhr Economic Papers 504, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    2. Knutsson, Daniel, 2017. "Water Improvement and Health: Historical Evidence on the Effect of Filtering Water on Urban Mortality," Research Papers in Economics 2017:2, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    3. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet & Herrmann, Mariesa, 2012. "From infant to mother: Early disease environment and future maternal health," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 475-483.
    4. Butikofer, Aline & Løken, Katrine & Salvanes, Kjell G, 2016. "Infant Health Care and Long-Term Outcomes," CEPR Discussion Papers 11652, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Bütikofer, Aline & Loken, Katrine Vellesen & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2015. "Long-Term Consequences of Access to Well-Child Visits," IZA Discussion Papers 9546, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Pogge, Thomas, 2012. "Ethical and Economic Perspectives on Global Health Interventions," IZA Policy Papers 38, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Janet Currie & Tom Vogl, 2013. "Early-Life Health and Adult Circumstance in Developing Countries," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 1-36, May.
    8. Andreella, Claudia & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese & Westphal, Matthias, 2015. "The long shadows of past insults intergenerational transmission of health over 130 years," Ruhr Economic Papers 571, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    9. Thompson, Owen, 2017. "The long-term health impacts of Medicaid and CHIP," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 26-40.
    10. Sonia Bhalotra & Martin Karlsson & Therese Nilsson, 2014. "Life Expectancy and Mother-Baby Interventions," CINCH Working Paper Series 1404, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen, Competent in Competition and Health.
    11. Boudreaux, Michel H. & Golberstein, Ezra & McAlpine, Donna D., 2016. "The long-term impacts of Medicaid exposure in early childhood: Evidence from the program's origin," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 161-175.
    12. Bhalotra, Sonia & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese, 2015. "Infant health and longevity: evidence from a historical trial in Sweden," ISER Working Paper Series 2015-08, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    13. repec:zbw:rwirep:0504 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Sonia Bhalotra & Martin Karlsson & Therese Nilsson, 2014. "Life Expectancy and Mother-Baby Interventions. Evidence from A Historical Trial," Ruhr Economic Papers 0504, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    15. Kose, Esra & Kuka, Elira & Shenhav, Na'ama, 2016. "Women's Enfranchisement and Children's Education: The Long-Run Impact of the U.S. Suffrage Movement," IZA Discussion Papers 10148, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. repec:pri:rpdevs:currie_vogl_ar is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Baranov, Victoria & Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Biroli, Pietro & Maselko, Joanna, 2017. "Maternal Depression, Women’s Empowerment, and Parental Investment: Evidence from a Large Randomized Control Trial," IZA Discussion Papers 11187, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Wüst, Miriam, 2012. "Early interventions and infant health: Evidence from the Danish home visiting program," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 484-495.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    early childhood; income; mortality trends; pneumonia; antibiotics; medical innovation; infectious diseases; schooling; disability;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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