"Public Health Efforts and the Decline in Urban Mortality," presented by Daniel I. Rees '86, professor of economics at the University of Colorado, Denver.
Using data on 25 major American cities for the period 1900-1940, we explore the effects of municipal-level public health efforts that were viewed as critical in the fight against food- and water-borne diseases. In addition to studying interventions such as treating sewage and setting strict bacteriological standards for milk, which have received little attention in the literature, we provide new evidence on the effects of water filtration and chlorination, extending the work of previous scholars. Contrary to the consensus view, we find that none of the interventions under study contributed substantially to the observed declines in total and infant mortality.
Professor Rees is the editor in chief of the Economics of Education Review. He received a BA from Oberlin College and a PhD from the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
Professor Rees is interested in the determinants and consequences of risky adolescent behavior as well as the effects of prenatal stress on child health. Currently, he is studying the anti-tuberculosis movement at the turn of the 20th century, the relationship between midwifery laws and maternal mortality, and the effect of naloxone access laws on opioid-related mortality.
Professor Rees is an IZA research fellow and an associate editor of the Journal of Population Economics.
Sponsored by the Department of Economics