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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Sok Chul Hong, 2011. "Malaria: An Early Indicator of Later Disease and Work Level," Working Papers 1110, Research Institute for Market Economy, Sogang University.
  • Handle: RePEc:sgo:wpaper:1110

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bénédicte H. Apouey & Gabriel Picone & Joshua Wilde & Joseph Coleman & Robyn Kibler, 2017. "Paludisme et anémie des enfants en Afrique subsaharienne : effet de la distribution de moustiquaires," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 68(2), pages 163-197.
    2. Singhal Saurabh & Pan Yao, 2015. "Income and Malaria: Evidence from an agricultural intervention in Uganda," WIDER Working Paper Series 092, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Agénor, Pierre-Richard & Canuto, Otaviano & da Silva, Luiz Pereira, 2014. "On gender and growth: The role of intergenerational health externalities and women's occupational constraints," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 132-147.
    4. Bénédicte H. Apouey & Gabriel Picone & Joshua Wilde & Joseph Coleman & Robyn Kibler, 2016. "Malaria and Anemia among Children in sub-Saharan Africa: the Effect of Mosquito Net Distribution," Working Papers 0116, University of South Florida, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Early-Life Exposure to Malaria; Chronic Disease; Work Disability; DALYs; Aging; Malaria Eradication; Anti-Malaria Campaign; Cohort Study; Cross-Country Study;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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