Week 3 - The role of geography and the disease environment


Is poverty due to the disease environment? If geography has a central role in explaining development, does it mean that improving health should be the first priority of development?,
In India, the share of expenditure on health over GDP is around 4%, twice as much as in Indonesia. However, child mortality is around 60 deaths per 1000 children... which is also twice as much as in Indonesia! Why are investments in health failing there?



- Chapter 2 "Theories that don't work" in Acemoglu and Robinson, Why Nations Fail
- Chapters 2 and 3 in Banerjee and Duflo Poor Economics, pp: 21-70
- Pages 35-214 in Diamond, Jared (1997), Guns Germs and Steel, Vintage Books
- Chapters 3 and 4 in Deaton (2013), The Great Escape, PUP pp: 59-125
- Chapters 2, 3, 5, and 10 in Sachs, Jeffrey (2005), The End of Poverty, Penguin Books (Pages 26-73; 90-108; and 188-209)


Banerjee, Glennester, and Duflo (2008), "Putting a band-aid on a corpse incentives for nurses in the Indian public health system", Journal of the European Economic Association

Cutler, Fung, Kremer, Singhal, Vogl (2010), "Early-life Malaria exposure and adult outcomes: evidence from Malaria eradication in India", American Economic Journal: Applied Economics
Alsan, Marcella (2015), "The effect of the Tse-Tse fly on African Development", American Economic Review
Nunn, Nathan and Diego Puga (2010), "Ruggedness: the Blessing of Bad Geography in sub-Saharan Africa", The Review of Economics and Statistics 94(1)]


Assignment 1

"Differences in the disease environments explain most of the differences in development around the world" Discuss.

The additional readings will provide useful examples


Assignment 2

Should development programs focus on the provision of public health care?

Assignment 3

Explain how the relationship between health and productivity might trap people in poverty. To what extent is there empirical evidence for such a poverty trap?