Disease Control and Inequality Reduction: Evidence from a Tuberculosis Testing and Vaccination Program

68 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2018

See all articles by Aline Butikofer

Aline Butikofer

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics

Kjell G. Salvanes

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: July 2018

Abstract

This paper examines the economic impact of a tuberculosis control program launched in Norway in 1948. In the 1940s, Norway had one of the highest tuberculosis infection rates in Europe, affecting about 85 percent of the inhabitants. To lower the disease burden, the Norwegian government launched a large-scale tuberculosis testing and vaccination campaign that substantially reduced tuberculosis infection rates among children. We find that cohorts in school during and after the campaign in municipalities with high tuberculosis prevalence gained more in terms of education, earnings, longevity, and height following this public health intervention. Furthermore, the gains from the disease control program are not limited to the initially treated cohorts but also affect their children. The results also suggest that individuals from a low socioeconomic background benefited more from the intervention and we present new evidence that a narrowing of the gap in childhood health can lead to a reduction in socioeconomic inequalities in adulthood.

Keywords: education, Health programs, inequality, Tuberculosis

JEL Classification: I14, I18, I24

Suggested Citation

Butikofer, Aline and Salvanes, Kjell G., Disease Control and Inequality Reduction: Evidence from a Tuberculosis Testing and Vaccination Program (July 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13061. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3218385

Aline Butikofer (Contact Author)

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen
Norway

Kjell G. Salvanes

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen
Norway
+47 5 595 9315 (Phone)
+47 5 595 9543 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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