IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/11427.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Death and the City: Chicago's Mortality Transition, 1850-1925

Author

Listed:
  • Joseph P. Ferrie
  • Werner Troesken

Abstract

Between 1850 and 1925, the crude death rate in Chicago fell by 60 percent, driven by reductions in infectious disease rates and infant and child mortality. What lessons might be drawn from the mortality transition in Chicago, and American cities more generally? What were the policies that had the greatest effect on infectious diseases and childhood mortality? Were there local policies that slowed the mortality transition? If the transition to low mortality in American cities was driven by forces largely outside the control of local governments (higher per capita incomes or increases in the amount and quality of calories available to urban dwellers from rising agricultural productivity), then expensive public health projects, such as the construction of public water and sewer systems, probably should have taken a back seat to broader national policies to promote overall economic growth. The introduction of pure water explains between 30 and 50 percent of Chicago's mortality decline, and that other interventions, such as the introduction of the diphtheria antitoxin and milk inspection had much smaller effects. These findings have important implications for current policy debates and economic development strategies.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph P. Ferrie & Werner Troesken, 2005. "Death and the City: Chicago's Mortality Transition, 1850-1925," NBER Working Papers 11427, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11427
    Note: DAE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11427.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lee, Lung-fei & Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Pitt, Mark M., 1997. "The effects of improved nutrition, sanitation, and water quality on child health in high-mortality populations," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 209-235, March.
    2. David M. Cutler & Grant Miller, 2004. "The Role of Public Health Improvements in Health Advances: The 20th Century United States," NBER Working Papers 10511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Dora Costa, 2000. "Understanding the twentieth-century decline in chronic conditions among older men," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(1), pages 53-72, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Disease and Unease in New York City (Part I): Mortality Rates since 1800
      by Jason Barr in Skynomics Blog on 2020-06-16 12:15:11

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Cha, Myung Soo & Kim, Nak Nyeon, 2012. "Korea's first industrial revolution, 1911–1940," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 60-74.
    2. Siqi Zheng & Matthew E. Kahn, 2013. "Understanding China's Urban Pollution Dynamics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(3), pages 731-772, September.
    3. Charles Kenny, 2006. "Were People in the Past Poor and Miserable?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 275-306, May.

    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. David Cutler & Angus Deaton & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2006. "The Determinants of Mortality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 97-120, Summer.
    2. Karen Clay & Werner Troesken, 2006. "Deprivation and Disease in Early Twentieth-Century America," NBER Working Papers 12111, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Elisabetta Aurino & Francesco Burchi, 2014. "Children’s Multidimensional Health and Medium-Run Cognitive Skills in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (Documento de Trabajo 129 – Salud multidimensional de los niños y sus habilidades cognitivas en e," Documentos de Trabajo (Niños del Milenio-GRADE) ninosm129, Niños del Milenio (Young Lives).
    4. Holger Strulik & Katharina Werner, 2016. "50 is the new 30—long-run trends of schooling and retirement explained by human aging," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 165-187, June.
    5. repec:cuf:journl:y:2014:v:15:i:2:calderon:serven is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Sonia Bhalotra & Samantha Rawlings, 2013. "Gradients of the Intergenerational Transmission of Health in Developing Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 660-672, May.
    7. Gabriele Doblhammer & Gerard J van den Berg & Thomas Fritze, 2013. "Economic Conditions at the Time of Birth and Cognitive Abilities Late in Life: Evidence from Ten European Countries," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 8(9), pages 1-12, September.
    8. Bas Klaauw & Limin Wang, 2011. "Child mortality in rural India," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(2), pages 601-628, April.
    9. Jacoby, Hanan & Wang, Limin, 2004. "Environmental determinants of child mortality in rural china : A competing risks approach," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3241, The World Bank.
    10. Atak, Alev & Linton, Oliver & Xiao, Zhijie, 2011. "A semiparametric panel model for unbalanced data with application to climate change in the United Kingdom," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 164(1), pages 92-115, September.
    11. Qing Wang & Huyang Zhang & John A. Rizzo & Hai Fang, 2018. "The Effect of Childhood Health Status on Adult Health in China," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 15(2), pages 1-16, January.
    12. Nejat Anbarci & Monica Escaleras & Charles A. Register, 2012. "From Cholera Outbreaks to Pandemics: The Role of Poverty and Inequality," The American Economist, Sage Publications, vol. 57(1), pages 21-31, May.
    13. Francisco de Castro Fernández & José Manuel González Mínguez, 2008. "The composition of public finances and long-term growth: a macroeconomic approach," Occasional Papers 0809, Banco de España.
    14. Yamauchi, Futoshi & Higuchi, Katsuhiko & Suhaeti, Rita Nur, 2009. "Impacts of prenatal and environmental factors on child growth: Evidence from Indonesia," IFPRI discussion papers 933, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    15. David Bishai & Divya Nair & Taghreed Adam, 2012. "Economics of Public Health Interventions for Children in Developing Countries," Chapters, in: Andrew M. Jones (ed.), The Elgar Companion to Health Economics, Second Edition, chapter 5, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    16. J. Mark Ramseyer, 2009. "Universal Health Insurance and the Effect of Cost Containment on Mortality Rates: Strokes and Heart Attacks in Japan," Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 6(2), pages 309-342, June.
    17. Camargo, Braz & Stein, Guilherme, 2022. "Credit constraints and human capital policies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 208(C).
    18. Futoshi Yamauchi, 2012. "Prenatal Seasonality, Child Growth, and Schooling Investments: Evidence from Rural Indonesia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(9), pages 1323-1341, September.
    19. Fogel, Robert W. & Cain, Louis & Burton, Joseph & Bettenhausen, Brian, 2013. "Was what ail’d ya what kill’d ya?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 269-280.
    20. Janet Currie, 2020. "Child health as human capital," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(4), pages 452-463, April.
    21. Cutler David M. & Meara Ellen, 2000. "The Technology of Birth: Is It Worth It?," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-37, January.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N0 - Economic History - - General
    • N9 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists, Wikipedia, or ReplicationWiki pages:
    1. Historical Economic Geography

    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:nbr:nberwo:11427. 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://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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.