Overcrowding and Infant Mortality: A Tale of Two Cities

Cage, Robert A. and Foster, John (1999) Overcrowding and Infant Mortality: A Tale of Two Cities. Discussion Paper No. 256, Department of Economics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Cage, Robert A.
Foster, John
Title Overcrowding and Infant Mortality: A Tale of Two Cities
School, Department or Centre Department of Economics
Institution The University of Queensland
Open Access Status Other
Report Number Discussion Paper No. 256
Publication date 1999-06-01
Start page 1
End page 30
Total pages 30
Publisher The University of Queensland
Language eng
Subject 370504 Family and Household Studies
370401 Urban and Regional Studies
Abstract/Summary Using detailed historical data for the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, evidence is found in support of the hypothesis that overcrowding is a significant cause of infant mortality. We distinguish between voluntary overcrowding (due to budgetary choices of poorer families) and involuntary overcrowding (due to market failure in the provision of an adequate supply of appropriate housing. We found that Glasgow's infant mortality rate was significantly higher than Edinburgh, despite their close geographical proximity, and that a large part of the difference can be attributed to involuntary overcrowding prior to World War II. We argue that this was due to the distinctly different housing policies adopted by the two cities, with lessons for present day public authorities.
Keyword infant mortality
standard of living
housing conditions
infectious diseases
housing policy

Document type: Department Technical Report
Collection: Discussion Papers (School of Economics)
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Created: Wed, 02 Jun 2004, 10:00:00 EST