Pollution and Mortality in the 19th Century
The Grantham Research Institute invites you to attend our upcoming Seminar featuring Professor W. Walker Hanlon, Assistant Professor of Economics at UCLA. Professor Hanlon will be presenting his upcoming working paper on pollution and mortality in the 19th century.
Abstract of Paper
The industrial cities of 19th century England were incredibly unhealthy places to live. Most existing work has linked this pattern to the spread of infectious diseases in crowded urban environments or to nutritional factors. This study highlights a third important factor: pollution. Combining detailed mortality data for over 500 districts covering nearly all of England with pollution measures based on districts’ industrial composition, I provide evidence that industrial pollution had an important effect on mortality in the second half of the 19th century. The estimated effects of pollution on mortality are substantial: one-half to two-thirds as large as the impact of all other factors related to population density. I find that pollution effects worked through the cause-of-death channels we would expect, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, but I also show that pollution interacted with infectious diseases of the respiratory system, such as tuberculosis and measles, to increase overall mortality. These results suggest that pollution should be given more weight when considering the impact of cities on mortality in the 19th century.
If you have any questions about this event please email Stuart Rodgers