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Comment on "Re-Examining the Contribution of Public Health Efforts to the Decline in Urban Mortality"

Publication Date: 
November 30, 2020

American Economic Journal: Applied Economics Forthcoming (with David Cutler).

We address points raised by Anderson et al. (2020), which commented on our prior work. After correcting unambiguous data mistakes, our revised estimates suggest that municipal water disinfection (filtration) explains 38% of the total mortality rate decline in our sample cities and years – a result not very different from our 43% original estimate.  However, effects on infant mortality rates are smaller than in our original analysis. Much of the difference between ACR’s analyses and ours is due to the coding of partial intervention years and to differences in population denominators, for which ideal data are difficult to find.