Gender, Race, and Heterogeneous Scarring and Selection Effects of Epidemic Malaria on Human Capital

University of Reading Department of Economics Discussion Paper No. 94

48 Pages Posted: 16 May 2012 Last revised: 21 Jul 2014

See all articles by Samantha B. Rawlings

Samantha B. Rawlings

University of Reading - Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences

Date Written: June 1, 2014

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of exposure to a serious, unusual, and unforeseen malaria epidemic in North East Brazil in 1938-1940 on subsequent human capital attainment. Arguing the event was exogenous, it exploits cohort- and regional-heterogeneity in exposure to identify effects. Given the high mortality rate associated with the epidemic, a model of selection and scarring is used to frame results. Differential mortality rates are expected according to gender and race, and in line with this there is heterogeneity in whether selection or scarring dominates. Non-white (white) women are selected (scarred) overall, whilst men of all races appear to be selected. Results contribute to evidence suggesting that exposure to negative environmental shocks affects human capital attainment, whilst also suggesting it heterogeneously impacts cohort composition.

Keywords: malaria; selection; scarring; human capital; environmental shocks; Brazil

JEL Classification: I10, I29

Suggested Citation

Rawlings, Samantha B., Gender, Race, and Heterogeneous Scarring and Selection Effects of Epidemic Malaria on Human Capital (June 1, 2014). University of Reading Department of Economics Discussion Paper No. 94, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2060884 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2060884

Samantha B. Rawlings (Contact Author)

University of Reading - Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences ( email )

United Kingdom

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