Elizabeth Gooch, ICePP director Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, and Bauyrzhan Yedgenov have released a paper called “The Role of Historical Malaria in Institutions and Contemporary Economic Development.” In it, they examine the causal impact of institutional quality on economic development from a novel perspective: malaria. At the country level, they exploit variation in the malaria prevalence in 1900, just before vector-control methods were developed, to instrument for institutional quality using a two-stage least squares instrumental variables framework, arguing that this measure of historical malaria offers more expansive geographic information about the disease environment than other metrics. Their baseline IV estimates reveal that greater institutional quality causes greater contemporaneous economic growth, and that these results are robust to alternative explanations such as the role of geography and early colonizers’ experiences, as the causal link between the early disease environmental, institutional quality and contemporary growth. In doing so, they propose that malaria endemicity, estimated for 1900, holistically explains the legacy of early disease on institutional quality development and contemporary economic development.
Read the full working paper here.
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The International Center for Public Policy has published a working paper series since 1997 to disseminate academic research quickly and to stimulate discussion that can expand knowledge, instill optimal practice and build capacity in the public sector around the world to improve human well-being.
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