Preventing the White Death: Tuberculosis Dispensaries

113 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2017

See all articles by Casper Worm Hansen

Casper Worm Hansen

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics; University of Copenhagen

Peter S. Jensen

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics

Peter Egedesø

University of Southern Denmark

Date Written: September 14, 2017

Abstract

Tuberculosis (TB) is a leading cause of death worldwide and, while treatable by antibiotics since the 1940s, drug resistant strains have emerged. This paper estimates the effects of the establishment of a pre-antibiotic era public health institution, known as a TB dispensary, designed to prevent the spread of the disease. Our annual difference-in-differences estimation reveals that the rollout of the dispensaries across Danish cities led to a 19 percent decline in the TB mortality rate, but exhibits no significant impacts on other diseases in placebo regressions. We next take advantage of the dispensaries' explicit targeting on TB to set up a triple-differences model which exploits other diseases as controls and obtain a similar magnitude of the effect. Using monthly mortality data in a similar strategy leads to the same conclusion. In addition, we find small positive spillover effects of the dispensaries on productivity as measured by annual income per taxpayer at the city level, digitized from historical tax-assessment records. Overall, the evidence highlights the provision of personalized information on infectious diseases as a cost-effective cause of the historical mortality decline.

Keywords: Tuberculosis, mortality, disease prevention, information, rollout, productivity

JEL Classification: D62, H23, I15, I18, N34

Suggested Citation

Hansen, Casper Worm and Jensen, Peter S. and Egedesø, Peter, Preventing the White Death: Tuberculosis Dispensaries (September 14, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3036887 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3036887

Casper Worm Hansen (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Copenhagen K, DK 1153
Denmark

University of Copenhagen ( email )

Nørregade 10
Copenhagen, København DK-1165
Denmark

Peter S. Jensen

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics ( email )

Campusvej 55
DK-5230 Odense M, 5230
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://www.sam.sdu.dk/staff/psj

Peter Egedesø

University of Southern Denmark ( email )

Campusvej 55
DK-5230 Odense, 5000
Denmark

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