Agricultural Policy, Migration, and Malaria in the 1930s United States
The Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) caused a population shift in the United States in the 1930s. Evaluating the effects of the AAA on the incidence of malaria can therefore offer important lessons regarding the broader consequences of demographic changes. Using a quasi-first difference model and a robust set of controls, we find a negative association between AAA expenditures and malaria death rates at the county level. Further, we find the AAA caused relatively low-income groups to migrate from counties with high-risk malaria ecologies. These results suggest that the AAA-induced migration played an important role in the reduction of malaria.
We thank Stefano Barbieri, Hoyt Bleakley, Leah Platt Boustan, Louis Cain, Michael Haines, Suk Chul Hong, Carl Kitchens, Peter Lindert, Jason Lindo, Jane Loomis, Naci Mocan, Shahar Sansani, Glen Waddell, Alex Whalley, and the seminar participants at Tulane University, LSU (Baton Rouge), University of Oregon, the 2010 PAA meetings, the CPE at The University of Chicago, and the NBER DAE Summer Institute. Joshua Pollack and Leila Abu-Orf provided excellent research assistance. Barreca's data collection efforts benefitted from the Agricultural History Grant and the Dissertation Year Fellowship from University of California, Davis. Also, financial support from the Kurzius family and the Committee on Research at Tulane University was beneficial. Fishback's and Kantor's work on the New Deal has been supported by National Science Foundation Grants SBR-9708098, SES-0080324, SES-0214395, SES-0617942, SES-0617972, and SES- 0921732. We are solely responsible for the views expressed in the article. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
“Agricultural Policy, Migration, and Malaria in the 1930s United States.” With Alan Barreca and Shawn Kantor. Explorations in Economic History 49 (2012): 381-398.