Economics Research Seminar | Weatherhead School at Case Western Reserve University

Economics Research Seminar

For Want of a Cup:The Rise of Tea in England and the Impact of Water Quality on Economic Development

While it is now well accepted that access to clean water plays an important role in public health and economic development, there is little historical evidence for the role that clean water played in the development of the now-rich world.  I investigate this question by exploiting a natural experiment on the effects of water quality on mortality—the advent of tea consumption in 18th century England.  The custom of tea drinking spread rapidly throughout England, even among lower classes, and resulted in an unintentional increase in consumption of boiled water.  Preliminary results suggest that areas with lower initial water quality had larger declines in mortality rates after tea drinking became widespread.  A similar pattern of results holds in years following larger volumes of tea imports. Finally, I discuss the broader impact of this accidental improvement in public health which occurred at the same time that people were crowding into cities, thus providing the labor needed for industrialization.

Please join the Economics Department for a research seminar.  This event is open to all Case Western Reserve University faculty, Ph.D. students, economic majors and minors, and those interested in economics research.
Contact Information:

Teresa Kabat

Friday, April 10, 2015 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Peter B. Lewis Building
11119 Bellflower Road, Room 220
Cleveland, OH 44106-7235
United States
Speaker(s): Francisca Antman, Ph.D., University of Colorado Boulder
Sponsored by: Economics Department
For Want of a Cup: The Rise of Tea in England


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