Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Jorge Martinez-Vazquez

Second Advisor

Spencer Banzhaf

Third Advisor

Andrew Wedeman

Fourth Advisor

Charles Hankla


The lead essay measures the long-term impact of famine severity during the 1959-1961 Great Chinese Famine on contemporary per capita GDP and rural household income in China. Empirical results present a consistently negative relationship between famine severity and per capita GDP in 2010 supported using an instrumental variable approach. The instrumental variable (IV) based on the sequence in which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took over continental China, exploiting the relationship between a local community's demonstration of loyalty to the new CCP regime, the radicalism of leadership during the Great Leap Forward social and agricultural reform starting in 1958, and the consequences of the Great Famine. The second essay utilizes the interaction of malaria prevention and the historical geographic distribution of malaria endemicity to estimate the average global impact mosquito-control has had on population growth. The differential benefit mosquito-control health campaigns may have had with respect to the initial malaria prevalence provides useful counterfactual groups for empirical analysis as well as possible evidence for the divergence in population development between the temperate and tropical regions of the world.