• Journal: American Economic Review
  • Date: May 1, 2015
  • DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20151070
  • Category: Scientific Research


Dora L. Costa from the University of California, Los Angeles and Matthew E. Kahn from the University of Southern California analyzed death rates from major cities using the typhoid fever database from Project Tycho. The authors compared the mortality trends with economic indicators to understand how the quality of life in cities changed as public health improved.


Dora L. Costa

Matthew E. Kahn

Related Project Tycho Datasets

United States of America - Typhoid fever


In the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century, large cities had extremely high death rates from infectious disease. Within major cities such as New York City and Philadelphia, there was significant variation at any point in time in the mortality rate across neighborhoods. Between 1900 and 1930 neighborhood mortality convergence took place in New York City and Philadelphia. We document these trends and discuss their consequences for neighborhood quality of life dynamics and the economic incidence of who gains from effective public health interventions.

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