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The phenomenon of summer diarrhea and its waning, 1910-1930⁎

D. Mark Anderson, Daniel I. Rees and Tianyi Wang

Explorations in Economic History, 2020, vol. 78, issue C

Abstract: During the first two decades of the 20th century, diarrheal deaths among American infants and children surged every summer. Although we still do not know what pathogen (or pathogens) caused this phenomenon, the consensus view is that it was eventually controlled through public health efforts at the municipal level. Using data from 26 major American cities for the period 1910-1930, we document the phenomenon of summer diarrhea and explore its dissipation. We find that water filtration is associated with a 15 percent reduction in diarrheal mortality among children under the age of two during the non-summer months, but does not seem to have had an effect on diarrheal mortality during the summer. In general, we find little evidence to suggest that public health interventions undertaken at the municipal level contributed to the dissipation of summer diarrhea.

JEL-codes: I10 I18 N3 Q54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:exehis:v:78:y:2020:i:c:s0014498320300322

DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2020.101341

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