Was the First Public Health Campaign Successful?


The US tuberculosis (TB) movement pioneered many of the strategies of modern public health campaigns. Using newly transcribed mortality data at the municipal level for the period 1900-1917, we explore the effectiveness of public health measures championed by the TB movement, including the establishment of sanatoriums and open-air camps, prohibitions on public spitting and common cups, and requirements that local health officials be notified about TB cases. Our results suggest that these and other anti-TB measures can explain, at most, only a small portion of the overall decline in pulmonary TB mortality observed during the period under study. (JEL, H51, I12, I18, N31, N32)




Anderson, D. Mark, Kerwin Kofi Charles, Claudio Las Heras Olivares, and Daniel I. Rees. "Was the First Public Health Campaign Successful?." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 11, no. 2 (April 2019): 143-175. DOI:10.1257/app.20170411.
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