Morbidity, Mortality, and Fertility in Human Capital Investments: Evidence from Global Malaria

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Malaria continues to be an obstacle to human capital development in many countries. However, the direct link between malaria and human capital has not been well characterized. This study contributes two novel insights. First, examining the intervention-driven declines in disease prevalence over the second half of the 20th century, I provide a cross-country estimate of the impact of malaria on educational attainment. I find that populations in countries with the highest malaria risk attained approximately 6 months less school than countries free of the disease. Second, I use variation in the deadliness and distribution of the two main malaria strains, P. falciparum and P. vivax, to investigate the mechanism through which malaria acts. While mortality risk does not appear to be a factor, I find evidence that malaria-induced morbidity affects schooling investments through the household fertility decision.


Type of resource text
Date created May 2008


Author Chang, Lee L.
Primary advisor Miller, Grant
Degree granting institution Stanford University, Department of Economics


Subject Stanford Department of Economics
Subject malaria
Subject human capital
Subject educational attainment
Subject morbidity
Subject fertility
Genre Thesis

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Chang, Lee L. (2008). Morbidity, Mortality, and Fertility in Human Capital Investments: Evidence from Global Malaria. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at:


Stanford University, Department of Economics, Honors Theses

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