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The Long-Term Economic Impact of In Utero and Postnatal Exposure to Malaria

By Alan Barreca


This paper examines the long-term economic impact of in utero and postnatal exposure to malaria using historical data from the United States. Recent research shows that individuals who were exposed to early-life health shocks have worse outcomes as adults, all else being equal. Because malaria has an acute impact on in utero and postnatal health conditions, such exposure may have significant economic effects over the life cycle. To test this conjecture, I match adults in the 1960 Decennial Census to the malaria death rate in their state-year of birth. Because malaria death rates are potentially correlated with important omitted variables and measured with error, I employ a novel identification strategy that uses variation in interacted hot and rainy weather conditions to instrument for malaria exposure. The IV estimates indicate that adults exposed to malaria around the time of birth had significantly lower levels of educational attainment. I am indebted to my dissertation chairs Hilary Hoynes and Douglas Miller for their help with this paper

Year: 2007
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