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Transportation and Health in a Developing Country: The United States, 1820-1847

Ariell Zimran

NBER Working Paper No. 24943
Issued in August 2018
NBER Program(s):Development of the American Economy, Development Economics

I study the impact of transportation on health in the rural US, 1820–1847. Measuring health by average stature and using within-county panel analysis and a straight-line instrument, I find that greater transportation linkage, as measured by market access, in a cohort's county-year of birth had an adverse impact on its health. A one-standard deviation increase in market access reduced average stature by 0.10 to 0.29 inches. These results explain 26 to 65 percent of the decline in average stature in the study period. I find evidence that transportation affected health by increasing population density, leading to a worse epidemiological environment.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24943

 
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