The Brazilian Bombshell? The Long-Term Impact of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic the South American Way

48 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2020 Last revised: 1 Aug 2021

See all articles by Amanda Guimbeau

Amanda Guimbeau

Brandeis University, International Business School, Students

Nidhiya Menon

Brandeis University - International Business School

Aldo Musacchio

Brandeis University- International Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2020

Abstract

We analyze the repercussions of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic on demographic measures, human capital formation, and productivity markers in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil's financial center and the most populous city in South America today. Leveraging temporal and spatial variation in district-level estimates of influenza-related deaths for the period 1917-1920 combined with a unique database on socio-economic, health and productivity outcomes constructed from historical and contemporary documents for all districts in Sao Paulo, we find that the 1918 Influenza pandemic had significant negative impacts on infant mortality and sex ratios at birth in 1920 (the short-run). We find robust evidence of persistent effects on health, educational attainment and productivity more than twenty years later. Our study highlights the importance of documenting the legacy of historical shocks in understanding the development trajectories of countries over time.

Suggested Citation

Guimbeau, Amanda and Menon, Nidhiya and Musacchio, Aldo, The Brazilian Bombshell? The Long-Term Impact of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic the South American Way (April 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w26929, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3569394

Amanda Guimbeau (Contact Author)

Brandeis University, International Business School, Students ( email )

Mailstop 32
Waltham, MA 02454
United States

Nidhiya Menon

Brandeis University - International Business School ( email )

Mailstop 32
Waltham, MA 02454-9110
United States
781-736-2230 (Phone)
781-736-2269 (Fax)

Aldo Musacchio

Brandeis University- International Business School ( email )

415 South Street MC 32
Waltham, MA 02454-9110
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/people/aldo_musacchio

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