Bismarck's Health Insurance and the Mortality Decline
Anastasia Driva and
Erik Hornung ()
No 12200, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers
We investigate the impact on mortality of the world's first compulsory health insurance, established by Otto von Bismarck, Chancellor of the German Empire, in 1884. Employing a multi-layered empirical setup, we draw on international comparisons and difference-in-differences strategies using Prussian administrative panel data to exploit differences in eligibility for insurance across occupations. All approaches yield a consistent pattern suggesting that Bismarck's Health Insurance generated a significant mortality reduction. The results are largely driven by a decline of deaths from infectious diseases. We present prima facie evidence that diffusion of new hygiene knowledge through physicians was an important channel.
Keywords: demographic transition; Health Insurance; Mortality; Prussian Economic History (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I13 I18 J11 N33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea, nep-his and nep-ias
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Working Paper: Bismarck's Health Insurance and the Mortality Decline (2018)
Working Paper: Bismarck's Health Insurance and the Mortality Decline (2017)
Working Paper: Bismarck’s Health Insurance and the Mortality Decline (2016)
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