Must-Read: John Tang: The Engine and the Reaper: Industrialization and Mortality in Early Modern Japan: "Economic development leads to improved health over time due to increased access to medical treatment, sanitation, and income...

...but in the short run the relationship may be negative given disease exposure from market integration. Using a panel dataset of vital statistics for Meiji Japan, I find mortality rates increased during the country's early industrialization, with railroad access accounting for over five percent of average mortality between 1886 and 1893. Estimates from a triple-differences framework indicate that communicable disease mortality accounts for 91 percent of the additional incidence, which suggests that improved transport may have operated as a vector for transmission.

http://behl.berkeley.edu/files/2016/01/Tang_WP2016-01.pdf

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