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Title:Essays on health economics and development policies
Author(s):Veras De Paiva Fonseca, Henrique
Director of Research:Parente, Stephen L.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Parente, Stephen L.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Kleemans, Marieke; Villamil, Anne; Zhao, Rui
Department / Program:Economics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Poor Laws
Abstract:This dissertation includes three chapters about the economics of policies and institutional development and health economics. The first chapter regards the empirical causal connection between in utero exposure to malaria and long-term adult socioeconomic conditions in Brazil, which documents the positive effects of malaria eradication on educational attainment. The second chapter refers to the connection between early childhood environment and adult health by exploring the potential effects of early-life health environment, proxied by malaria intensity at the time of birth, on adult mortality rates. In chapter 3, I address the impacts of societal local institutions and policies on the determination of fertility rates during early industrial times in Britain and Ireland. Chapter 1: Exposure to Malaria and Economic Development This chapter investigates the long-term relationship between early life exposure to malaria and adult socioeconomic outcomes in Brazil. The identification strategy relies on exogenous variation in the risk of malaria outbreaks in different states and seasons of the year to identify early life exposure according to the timing and location of birth. Furthermore, Brazil has undergone a successful campaign of malaria eradication during the 1950s, which allows for employing a differences-in-differences design to compare outcomes of birth cohorts born just prior to and just after eradication. I find consistent negative treatment effects of in utero exposure on years of education and on income levels and the effects are stronger for exposure during the first trimester of pregnancy than during other periods of gestation. Additionally, consistent with previous findings, men are more likely to exhibit larger long-term effects. I find no significant treatment effects of early life exposure to malaria on fertility and no significant differences in socioeconomic conditions of more exposed individuals born after eradication campaign relative to less exposed ones. Chapter 2: Early-Life Exposure to Malaria and Adult Mortality: Evidence from the Brazilian Eradication Campaign In this chapter, we study the long-term effects of childhood exposure to malaria on adult mortality in Brazil. We make use of the malaria eradication campaign in Brazil as a natural experiment to identify exogenous sources of variation in the decline in malaria rates according to pre-campaign endemicity rates in different regions and find consistently negative treatment effects of early-life exposure to malaria on 10-year adult mortality rates. A one-standard deviation increase in our constructed malaria intensity measure leads to a decline in adult mortality of 0.2 percentage points. Our results further suggest no direct physiological effect and that a possible mechanism leading to this effect is educational attainment. Chapter 3: The Role of Local Institutions and Policies on Fertility During Pre-Modern Times This chapter addresses the role of institutions and economic policies on the determination of fertility rates and population size during the Malthusian phase of development. Historical facts documented in this paper support the view that societies, through their local institutions and policies, have a sizable influence on the determination of their desired fertility path. Empirical findings suggest a strong association between the distribution of poor relief and birth rates during the 1800s in England. Census data on the county-level administration of the poor relief in Ireland corroborate the findings, indicating that societal policies and institutions are able to affect individual-level fertility decisions and subsequent population path.
Issue Date:2019-04-12
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Henrique Veras De Paiva Fonseca
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-08-23
Date Deposited:2019-05

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