2014

The Impact of the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic on Economic Performance in Sweden

Reprint No. 2014:35

Author(s): Martin Karlsson, Therese Nilsson and Stefan PichlerYear: 2014 Title: Journal of Health Economics Volume (No.): 36 (July) Pages: 1–9
Online article (restrictions may apply)
Preliminary version


We study the impact of the 1918 influenza pandemic on short- and medium-term economic performancein Sweden. The pandemic was one of the severest and deadliest pandemics in human history, but it hashitherto received only scant attention in the economic literature – despite representing an unparalleledlabour supply shock. In this paper, we exploit seemingly exogenous variation in incidence rates betweenSwedish regions to estimate the impact of the pandemic. The pandemic led to a significant increase inpoorhouse rates. There is also evidence that capital returns were negatively affected by the pandemic.However, contrary to predictions, we find no discernible effect on earnings.


Reference:
Karlsson, Martin, Therese Nilsson and Stefan Pichler (2014), "The Impact of the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic on Economic Performance in Sweden". Journal of Health Economics 36(July), 1–9.

Therese Nilsson

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Martin Ljunge, IFN, is the author of a chapter, "Trust promotes health: addressing reverse causality by studying children of immigrants", in a new book edited by Sherman Folland and Eric Nauenberg. The cutting edge of research is presented, covering the ever-expanding social capital field.

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