Parasitic Diseases and Agricultural Labor Productivity

Burton A. Weisbrod, Thomas W. Helminiak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Excerpt from introduction: Our earlier study sought to assess the quantitative impact of parasitic diseases on various measures of labor productivity.' The current study extends the previous analyses by examining the hypothesis that productivity is affected with a time lag that reflects the effects on workers of an extended period of infection. In our previous work we examined the impacts of five parasitic infections: schistosomiasis (the focus of the study), hookworm, scariasis, trichuriasis, and strongyloidiasis. In the rural labor productivity portion of the study, a total of 458 workers on the Geest Company's Cul-de-Sac Valley banana estate on St. Lucia, West Indies, were tested for the presence of these infections. Additional personal attribute data, obtained from household surveys and on-the-job interviews, as well as the infection data were matched with information on the workers' earnings, daily attendance, and, in some instances, physical productivity. Multiple regression analysis was employed in an attempt to infer partial causal relationships between the presence of parasitic infections and several measures of output for these banana estate workers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-522
JournalEconomic Development and Cultural Change
StatePublished - 1977


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