Henderson, John A. (2018). Hookworm Eradication as a Natural Experiment for Schooling and Voting in the American South. Political behavior. 40(2): 467-494. First Online: 30 May 2017 DOI: 10.1007/s11109-017-9408-6
Educational attainment is robustly associated with greater political participation, yet the causal nature of this finding remains contested. To assess this relationship, I leverage a natural experiment in the Rockefeller Sanitary Commission’s (RSC) anti-hookworm campaign, which exogenously expanded primary and secondary education in the early-twentieth century American South. I evaluate two RSC hookworm interventions: exposure to the campaign and proportion treated. I use genetic matching to control for observable factors that influenced the haphazard dispensing of treatment, and implement new matching methods for continuous campaign interventions. I also use a variety of methods to assess the robustness of the results to a number of alternative accounts. Throughout, I find a consistent positive effect of education on participation, suggesting additional evidence for a causal interpretation of the ‘education effect’.
Link to article here.