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Institutional Affiliation: University of Michigan
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|May 2019||Controlling Tuberculosis? Evidence from the First Community-Wide Health Experiment|
with Karen Clay, Peter Juul Egedesø, Casper Worm Hansen, Peter Sandholt Jensen: w25884
This paper studies the immediate and long-run mortality effects of the first community-based health intervention in the world – the Framingham Health and Tuberculosis Demonstration, 1917-1923. The official evaluation committee and the historical narrative suggest that the demonstration was highly successful in controlling tuberculosis and reducing mortality. Using newly digitized annual cause-of-death data for municipalities in Massachusetts, 1901-1934, and different empirical strategies, we find little evidence to support this positive assessment. In fact, we find that the demonstration did not reduce tuberculosis mortality, all-age mortality, nor infant mortality. These findings contribute to the ongoing debate on whether public-health interventions mattered for the decline in (tuberculo...