Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/162007
Authors: 
Barron, Kai
Gamboa, Luis F.
Rodriguez-Lesmes, Paul
Year of Publication: 
2017
Series/Report no.: 
WZB Discussion Paper No. SP II 2017-306
Publisher: 
Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB), Berlin
Abstract: 
Epidemics tend to have a debilitating influence on the lives of directly afflicted families. However, the presence of an epidemic can also change the behaviour and outcomes of those not directly affected. This paper makes use of a short, sharp, unexpected epidemic to examine the behavioural response of the general public to a sudden shift in the perceived risk to an individual's health and mortality. Our analysis finds that unafflicted school students change their behaviour substantially, affecting important life outcomes. In particular, we find that close to 4 fewer students, out of a typical class of 47 pupils, sit their school leaving examination for every additional 10 cases of severe Dengue per 10 000 inhabitants in a municipality. We rule out several possible mechanisms, leaving an increase in the salience of the disease's risks as a plausible explanation for our findings.
Subjects: 
Health
health risks
education
human capital
Dengue
Colombia
JEL: 
I12
I15
I20
D80
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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