Is Mass Deworming a Viable and Competitive Method to Improve Welfare in Developing Countries?

Open Access
Author:
Balent, Brendan John
Area of Honors:
Economics
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • James Tierney, Thesis Supervisor
  • Russell Chuderewicz, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Mass Deworming
  • Intestinal Helminths
  • Developing Countries
Abstract:
Recently, school-based mass deworming programs have been increasingly employed in developing countries as a tool to improve health, education, and prosperity. With international support from the World Health Organization, these initiatives have attempted to reduce the detrimental developmental threat that intestinal worms pose to nearly one billion school-aged children. The body of research focused upon the future welfare impacts on countries and individuals subjected to these programs has surged in the new millennium. Economists have utilized the various health and labor market outcomes associated with deworming programs in an attempt to estimate their effect on developing economies. This paper attempts to provide a comprehensive review of the literature surrounding mass deworming programs. Bringing together studies of various time periods and locations, the question of whether these programs are feasible and effective across the range of circumstances found in developing regions is explored. Beyond their own evaluation, school-based mass deworming programs are then compared to like-minded policies undertaken in developing regions, in an attempt to understand the relative cost-efficiency with which mass deworming achieves its goals. This review aggregates the findings of many studies to support the notion that mass deworming programs are a viable and comparatively efficient method to improve welfare in developing countries.