Re-Examining the Contribution of Public Health Efforts to the Decline in Urban Mortality
D. Mark Anderson
Kerwin Kofi Charles
Daniel I. Rees
- American Economic Journal: Applied Economics (Forthcoming)
Using data on 25 major American cities for the period 1900-1940, we explore the effects of municipal-level public health efforts that were viewed as critical in the fight against food- and water-borne diseases. In addition to studying interventions such as treating sewage and setting bacteriological standards for milk, which have received little attention, we provide new evidence on the effects of water filtration and chlorination, extending the work of previous scholars. Although water filtration is associated with an 11-12 percent reduction in infant mortality, none of the other interventions under study appear to have contributed to the observed mortality declines.
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