Feb 16, 3pm | Visiting speaker talk: “Dams of Malaria”, Professor Sebastien Mary

Food and Resource Economics Work in Progress Seminar

Thursday February 16, 2023 @ 3PM

MacMillan 350 or by Zoom


Dams of Malaria


Dr. Sebastien Mary, Governors State University


We study the effect of large dams on malaria incidence in India between 1975 and 1995. Our approach exploits variation in dam construction induced by differences in river gradient across districts within Indian states to construct instrumental variable estimates. We further combine this instrumental variables approach with a panel model with unobserved common factors allowing to fully capture unobserved time-varying heterogeneity. Dams result in increased malaria incidence in districts where dams are located. According to our estimates, we find that the construction of a large dam increases a district’s annual malaria incidence by about 0.9 to 2.4 per cent. We also find that this malaria-increasing effect of dams persists over five years. Our results imply that the construction of dams in malaria-sensitive areas should be coupled with direct interventions, such as the wide deployment of insecticide-treated nets or the roll-out of future vaccines.

About the speaker

Sebastien Mary is an Assistant Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics at Governors State University. Previously, he was a visiting faculty at DePaul University and University of Kansas. Before moving to the United States, he has also held positions at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (Spain), IFREMER (France), and the University of Aberdeen (Scotland).

Professor Mary’s research has been published in World Development, Empirical Economics, Review of Development Economics, Food Policy, Food Security, European Review of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Agricultural Economics, and other peer-reviewed journals. He is currently an Associate Editor for Food Security.