Public Health Efforts and the Decline in Urban Mortality: Reply to Cutler and Miller

23 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2019

See all articles by D. Mark Anderson

D. Mark Anderson

Montana State University - Bozeman - Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics

Kerwin Kofi Charles

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Daniel I. Rees

University of Colorado Denver; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: January 4, 2019

Abstract

This is a rejoinder to a comment by Profs. Cutler and Miller (CM) on a recent paper of ours, “Public Health Efforts and the Decline in Urban Mortality” (NBER WP No. 25027), in which we examine the effect of water filtration on infant and total mortality using the same data as were used by CM (2005). Two main results emerge from our reanalysis of the CM data: (1) correcting their infant mortality counts reduces the estimated effect of filtration by two-thirds, from -43 log points to -13 log points; and (2) using a consistent method of calculating the total mortality rate shrinks the estimated effect of filtration by half, from -16 log points to -8 log points. In this rejoinder, we argue that the much-reduced estimated effect of water filtration on infant mortality is a dramatic and surprising departure from the consensus view in the literature. In addition, we show that the estimated effect of water filtration on total mortality is extremely fragile.

Keywords: Public Health, Mortality Transition

JEL Classification: I18, J1, N3

Suggested Citation

Anderson, D. Mark and Charles, Kerwin Kofi and Rees, Daniel I., Public Health Efforts and the Decline in Urban Mortality: Reply to Cutler and Miller (January 4, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3314366 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3314366

D. Mark Anderson (Contact Author)

Montana State University - Bozeman - Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics ( email )

Bozeman, MT 59717-2920
United States

Kerwin Kofi Charles

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
(773) 834-8922 (Phone)

Daniel I. Rees

University of Colorado Denver ( email )

Campus Box 181
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80218
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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