City Health Departments, Public Health Expenditures, and Urban Mortality over 1910-1940

84 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2023

See all articles by Lauren Hoehn-Velasco

Lauren Hoehn-Velasco

Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

Elizabeth Wrigley-Field

University of Minnesota - Minneapolis

Date Written: August 2021

Abstract

Over the early twentieth century, urban centers adopted full-time public health departments. We show that opening full-time administration had little observable impact on mortality. We then attempt to determine why health departments were ineffective. Our results suggest that achievements in public health occurred regardless of health department status. Further, we find that cities with and without a full-time health department allocated similar per capita expenditures towards health administration. This health department funding also better predicts infant mortality declines. Our conclusions indicate that specific campaigns, public health systems, and funding may have been more meaningful for local health over this era.

Note: Funding: None to declare

Declaration of Interest: Elizabeth Wrigley-Field received funding from the Minnesota Population Center, which is supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (grant number P2C HD041023). All others have nothing to declare.

Keywords: mortality, infant mortality, health departments, local public expenditures, public health, demographic transition

JEL Classification: I15, I18, H51, N32

Suggested Citation

Hoehn-Velasco, Lauren and Wrigley-Field, Elizabeth, City Health Departments, Public Health Expenditures, and Urban Mortality over 1910-1940 (August 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3656594 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3656594

Lauren Hoehn-Velasco (Contact Author)

Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies ( email )

Department of Economics
35 Broad Street, 6th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30303-3083
United States

Elizabeth Wrigley-Field

University of Minnesota - Minneapolis ( email )

110 Wulling Hall, 86 Pleasant St, S.E.
308 Harvard Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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