Shadows of the Captain of the Men of Death: Early Life Health Interventions, Human Capital Investments, and Institutions

81 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2011 Last revised: 9 Aug 2015

See all articles by Sonia R. Bhalotra

Sonia R. Bhalotra

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Atheendar Venkataramani

University of Pennsylvania - Perelman School of Medicine

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 8, 2015

Abstract

We leverage introduction of the first antibiotic therapies in 1937 to examine impacts of pneumonia in infancy on adult education, employment, disability, income and income mobility, and identify large impacts on each. We then examine how racial segregation in the pre-Civil Rights Era moderated the long-run benefits of antibiotics among blacks. We find that blacks born in more segregated states reaped smaller and less pervasive long run benefits despite sharp drops in pneumonia exposure. Our findings demonstrate causal effects of early life health on economic mobility and the importance of an investment-rewarding institutional environment in realization of the full potential of a healthy start.

Keywords: early childhood; race; human capital production; social mobility; dynamic complementarity; institutions; segregation; infectious disease; pneumonia; medical innovation; antibiotics; education; income; disability

JEL Classification: I18, H41

Suggested Citation

Bhalotra, Sonia R. and Venkataramani, Atheendar, Shadows of the Captain of the Men of Death: Early Life Health Interventions, Human Capital Investments, and Institutions (August 8, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1940725 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1940725

Sonia R. Bhalotra

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Atheendar Venkataramani (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Perelman School of Medicine ( email )

423 Guardian Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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