Emily Battaglia studies malaria, race, and inequality in the early 1900s US South

Dec. 9, 2021

A study conducted by Emily Battaglia, a PhD candidate in the Industrial Relations Section, and co-author Faizaan Kisat, also a PhD candidate in Economics, has been published in the December 2021 volume of The Journal of Economic History. 


Malaria, Race, and Inequality: Evidence from the Early 1900s U.S. South,

This study investigates the impact of malaria eradication programs on Black-white economic disparities in the early 1900s U.S. South. Malaria eradication was widespread and improved health across races. Yet, only white men experienced economic benefits. Using matched census records, we find that increased exposure to the program was associated with higher schooling attainment and income for whites but not for Blacks. Blacks exposed to malaria eradication were more likely to be farm laborers, and both Blacks and whites were more likely to migrate out of state. Our findings suggest that malaria eradication, a broadly applied intervention, widened racial gaps.