Proposal preview

Health inequalities and urbanization, 17th-20th centuries

Once deadly places existing only through a constant influx of (more or less) healthy migrants, cities have gradually seen their living standards improved. This phenomenon, however, was far from linear or homogenous and little is known about the way different groups within cities took advantage of improvements in health. This is all the more important as cities were places characterized by large inequalities, that the industrial revolution or the colonization process made even starker. This session will explore the various ways in which health inequalities within cities evolved over time. While focusing on health inequality and urbanization in the long run, this session intends to place it in a broader structure of changing public policies. It will consider the evolution of mortality from different angles: ways of living for urban people, the healthy import of migrants; the relationship between urban elites and lumpen proletariat; the size and scope of infrastructure change and its consequences on health; and the rivalry between groups–defined by income, wealth or occupation–for the control of public spending.


  • Joseph P. Ferrie, Dept. of Economics, Northwestern University,,
  • Lionel Kesztenbaum, INED and PSE,,

Session members

  • Marcella Alsan, Stanford School of Medicine,
  • Sok Chul Hong, Seoul National University,
  • Volha Lazuka, Lund University,
  • Kota Ogasawara, Tokyo Institute of Technology,

Proposed discussant(s)

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