Graduation Year

2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Economics

Major Professor

Gabriel A. Picone, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Kwabena Gyimah Brempong, Ph.D.

Keywords

Health, Human capital accumulation, School, Work

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the causal effects of malaria and poor health in general on economic outcome in Sub-Saharan Africa. This study uses panel data from the Living Standard Measurement Survey (LSMS) for Tanzania from 1991 to 2004. Three main hypotheses are tested. First, the study evaluates the effect of malaria and other chronic illnesses on labor supply using the number of hours worked per week as a measure of outcome. Second, it determines the impact of poor health on human capital accumulation by measuring the number of weekly school hours lost to illness. The third objective deals with the question of whether changes in preconditioning factors such as income levels and healthcare accessibility have improved the disease environment in Sub-Saharan Africa over time. The study uses several identification strategies in the empirical estimation process. The first estimation strategy applies the standard Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) and Fixed Effects (FE) estimators to the schooling and labor supply models. In addition to OLS and FE, the preferred methods of estimating the causal effects of malaria on schooling and labor supply outcomes are Two Stage Least Squares (2SLS) and Limited Information Maximum Likelihood (LIML). Findings in this study suggest that malaria significantly increases school absenteeism. In particular, 2SLS and LIML estimates of the number of school hours lost to malaria suggests that children sick with malaria are absent from school for approximately 24 hours a week. However, the results show the effect of malaria on work hours is inconclusive. Furthermore, difference in difference estimates of the disease environment show slight improvements in the disease environment resulting from changes in income levels. The study finds no statistically significant improvements in the disease environment due to increases in the number of health facilities over time.

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