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Abstract

Existing research on the economic impact of dengue among households focuses on individuals with clinically confirmed disease and their families. However, caregiving activities, avoidance behaviors, and changes in labor demand may cause the potential labor market impacts of an epidemic to extend beyond households that directly experience illness. I exploit exogenous fluctuations in the timing and scale of dengue epidemics in the Amazonian city of Iquitos, Peru from July 2005 to June 2010 to isolate changes in the work hours of all primary male and female residents in the region. I find that dengue epidemics are associated with large, statistically significant decreases in work hours for those who work positive hours. In aggregate, females reduce work hours more than males, both in levels of the point estimates and relative to mean hours. Furthermore, the decrease in female work hours during epidemics extends beyond households experiencing illness. This research contributes to the infectious disease literature by assessing the impact of epidemics on the labor market outcomes of all households in an affected region and by assessing the differential impacts on the outcomes of male and female residents.

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