Malaria: Disease Impacts and Long-Run Income Differences
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that malaria, a parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes, causes over 300 million episodes of “acute illness" and more than one million deaths annually. Most of the deaths occur in poor countries of the tropics, and especially sub-Saharan Africa. Most of the countries with high rates of malaria prevalence are also poor, and some researchers have suggested a direct link from malaria to poverty. This paper explores the potential impact of malaria on national income levels, using a dynamic general equilibrium framework with epidemiological features. We find that if there is no feasible prevention or control, malaria can have a significant impact on income levels. However, if people have any effective way of avoiding infection, the disease impacts on income levels are likely to be small. This is true even where preventive measures are costly.
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