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The Brazilian Bombshell? The Long-Term Impact of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic the South American Way

Author

Listed:
  • Amanda Guimbeau
  • Nidhiya Menon
  • Aldo Musacchio

Abstract

We analyze the repercussions of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic on demographic measures, human capital formation, and productivity markers in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil's financial center and the most populous city in South America today. Leveraging temporal and spatial variation in district-level estimates of influenza-related deaths for the period 1917-1920 combined with a unique database on socio-economic, health and productivity outcomes constructed from historical and contemporary documents for all districts in Sao Paulo, we find that the 1918 Influenza pandemic had significant negative impacts on infant mortality and sex ratios at birth in 1920 (the short-run). We find robust evidence of persistent effects on health, educational attainment and productivity more than twenty years later. Our study highlights the importance of documenting the legacy of historical shocks in understanding the development trajectories of countries over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Amanda Guimbeau & Nidhiya Menon & Aldo Musacchio, 2020. "The Brazilian Bombshell? The Long-Term Impact of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic the South American Way," NBER Working Papers 26929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26929
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    Cited by:

    1. Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico, 2020. "COVID-19, Race, and Redlining," Department of Economics 0175, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    2. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Kaushal, Neeraj & Muchow, Ashley N., 2020. "Is the Cure Worse than the Disease? County-Level Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 13695, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Constantin Bürgi & Nisan Gorgulu, 2020. "Social Distancing and the Economic Impact of COVID-19 in the United States," CESifo Working Paper Series 8577, CESifo.
    4. Vellore Arthi & John Parman, 2020. "Disease, Downturns, and Wellbeing: Economic History and the Long-Run Impacts of COVID-19," NBER Working Papers 27805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2020. "COVID-19, Race, and Redlining," GLO Discussion Paper Series 603, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    6. Daniel de Kadt & Johan Fourie & Jan Greyling & Elie Murard & Johannes Norling, 2020. "The causes and consequences of the 1918 influenza in South Africa," Working Papers 12/2020, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    7. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Neeraj Kaushal & Ashley N. Muchow, 2020. "Is the Cure Worse than the Disease? County-Level Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States," NBER Working Papers 27759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Carillo, Mario & Jappelli, Tullio, 2020. "Pandemics and Local Economic Growth: Evidence from the Great Influenza in Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 14849, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Brian Beach & Karen Clay & Martin Saavedra, 2020. "The 1918 Influenza Pandemic and its Lessons for COVID-19," Working Papers 2020-15, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    10. Brian Beach & Karen Clay & Martin H. Saavedra, 2020. "The 1918 Influenza Pandemic and its Lessons for COVID-19," NBER Working Papers 27673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • N36 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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