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Malaria: An Early Indicator of Later Disease and Work Level

  • Sok Chul Hong


    (Department of Economics, Sogang University, Seoul)

The effect of early-life exposure to malaria on disability and work level in old age has been rarely studied. This study investigates this less explored question over the past one and a half century. First, using longitudinal lifetime records of Union Army veterans, I estimate that exposure to a malarial environment in early life (c.1840) substantially increased the likelihood of having various chronic diseases and not working in old age (c.1900). Second, from data on US cohorts born between 1891 and 1965, I find that those exposed to a higher level of the antimalaria campaign, which began in 1920, suffered less from work disability in old age than otherwise. This effect was substantial among cohorts born in high-risk malaria counties. Third, I seek the same implications for the modern period by linking World Health Organization¡¯s country statistics on disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) among older populations in 2004 to country-level malaria risk in 1946. In the paper, I discuss possible mechanisms and propose the significance of malaria eradication and early-life conditions from a longer-term perspective.

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Paper provided by Research Institute for Market Economy, Sogang University in its series Working Papers with number 1110.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sgo:wpaper:1110
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  1. Robert W. Fogel, 2004. "Changes in the Disparities in Chronic Disease during the Course of the Twentieth Century," NBER Working Papers 10311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. In Utero, 2006. "Is the 1918 Influenza Pandemic Over? Long-Term Effects of In Utero Influenza Exposure in the Post-1940 U.S. Population," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(4), pages 672-712, August.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2007. "Disease and Development: The Effect of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 925-985, December.
  4. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding differences in health behaviors by education," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-28, January.
  5. Hoyt Bleakley, 2010. "Malaria Eradication in the Americas: A Retrospective Analysis of Childhood Exposure," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 1-45, April.
  6. David Cutler & Winnie Fung & Michael Kremer & Monica Singhal & Tom Vogl, 2010. "Early-Life Malaria Exposure and Adult Outcomes: Evidence from Malaria Eradication in India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 72-94, April.
  7. Dora L. Costa, 1994. "Health and Labor Force Participation of Older Men, 1900-1991," NBER Working Papers 4929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Mårten Palme, 2009. "Chernobyl's Subclinical Legacy: Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Fallout and School Outcomes in Sweden," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1729-1772, November.
  9. Janet Currie, 2009. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 87-122, March.
  10. Adrienne M. Lucas, 2010. "Malaria Eradication and Educational Attainment: Evidence from Paraguay and Sri Lanka," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 46-71, April.
  11. Chang, Simon & Fleisher, Belton M. & Kim, Seonghoon & Liu, Shi-yung, 2011. "Long-term Effects of Early Childhood Malaria Exposure on Education and Health: Evidence from Colonial Taiwan," IZA Discussion Papers 5526, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Hong, Sok Chul, 2011. "Malaria and Economic Productivity: A Longitudinal Analysis of the American Case," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(03), pages 654-671, September.
  13. Alan I. Barreca, 2010. "The Long-Term Economic Impact of In Utero and Postnatal Exposure to Malaria," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(4), pages 865-892.
  14. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding Differences in Health Behaviors by Education," Scholarly Articles 5344195, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Chen, Yuyu & Zhou, Li-An, 2007. "The long-term health and economic consequences of the 1959-1961 famine in China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 659-681, July.
  16. Gabriella Conti & James Heckman & Sergio Urzua, 2010. "The Education-Health Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 234-38, May.
  17. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2003. "Disease and Development in Historical Perspective," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 397-405, 04/05.
  18. Hong, Sok Chul, 2007. "The Burden of Early Exposure to Malaria in the United States, 1850–1860: Malnutrition and Immune Disorders," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(04), pages 1001-1035, December.
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