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Neighborhood Sanitation and Infant Mortality

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  • Michael Geruso
  • Dean Spears

Abstract

In this paper, we shed new light on a long-standing puzzle: in India, Muslim children are substantially more likely than Hindu children to survive to their first birthday, even though Indian Muslims have lower wealth, consumption, educational attainment, and access to state services. Contrary to the prior literature, we show that the observed mortality advantage accrues not to Muslim households themselves but rather to their neighbors, who are also likely to be Muslim. Investigating mechanisms, we provide a collage of evidence suggesting externalities due to poor sanitation are a channel linking the religious composition of neighborhoods to infant mortality.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Geruso & Dean Spears, 2018. "Neighborhood Sanitation and Infant Mortality," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 125-162, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:10:y:2018:i:2:p:125-62
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20150431
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    Cited by:

    1. Diane Coffey & Ashwini Deshpande & Jeffrey Hammer & Dean Spears, 2019. "Local Social Inequality, Economic Inequality, and Disparities in Child Height in India," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 56(4), pages 1427-1452, August.
    2. Menon, Nidhiya & McQueeney, Kathleen, 2020. "Christianity and girl child health in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 136(C).
    3. Vyas, Sangita & Kov, Phyrum & Smets, Susanna & Spears, Dean, 2016. "Disease externalities and net nutrition: Evidence from changes in sanitation and child height in Cambodia, 2005–2010," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 235-245.
    4. Aashish Gupta & Diane Coffey, 2020. "Caste, Religion, and Mental Health in India," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 39(6), pages 1119-1141, December.
    5. Spears, Dean, 2020. "Exposure to open defecation can account for the Indian enigma of child height," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C).
    6. Orgill-Meyer, Jennifer & Pattanayak, Subhrendu K., 2020. "Improved sanitation increases long-term cognitive test scores," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 132(C).
    7. Stopnitzky, Yaniv, 2017. "No toilet no bride? Intrahousehold bargaining in male-skewed marriage markets in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 269-282.
    8. Lawson, Nicholas & Spears, Dean, 2016. "What doesn't kill you makes you poorer: Adult wages and early-life mortality in India," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 1-16.
    9. Evan Plous Kresch, 2020. "The Buck Stops Where? Federalism, Uncertainty, and Investment in the Brazilian Water and Sanitation Sector," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 374-401, August.
    10. Calvi, Rossella & Mantovanelli, Federico G., 2018. "Long-term effects of access to health care: Medical missions in colonial India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 285-303.
    11. Deepak Saraswat, 2018. "Gender Composition of Children and Sanitation Behavior In India," Working papers 2018-12, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    12. Patrick Mullen & Divya Nair & Jayati Nigam & Katyayni Seth, 2016. "Urban Health Advantages and Penalties in India," World Bank Other Operational Studies 24025, The World Bank.
    13. Geruso, Michael & Spears, Dean, 2018. "Heat, Humidity, and Infant Mortality in the Developing World," IZA Discussion Papers 11717, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Upasak Das & Udaya S. Mishra, 2020. "Towards Conceptualization of a Household Educational Indicator: Incorporating Externalities," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 289-309, July.
    15. Hoehn-Velasco, Lauren, 2018. "Explaining declines in US rural mortality, 1910–1933: The role of county health departments," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 42-72.
    16. Gupta, Aashish & Khalid, Nazar & Desphande, Devashish & Hathi, Payal & Kapur, Avani & Srivastav, Nikhil & Vyas, Sangita & Spears, Dean & Coffey, Diane, 2019. "Changes in Open Defecation in Rural North India: 2014-2018," IZA Discussion Papers 12065, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Derek Headey & Giordano Palloni, 2019. "Water, Sanitation, and Child Health: Evidence From Subnational Panel Data in 59 Countries," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 56(2), pages 729-752, April.
    18. Makate, Marshall & Makate, Clifton, 2016. "Is poor sanitation killing more children in rural Zimbabwe? Results of propensity score matching method," MPRA Paper 72831, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 02 Aug 2016.
    19. Kanika Mahajan & Sheetal Sekhri, 2020. "Access to Toilets and Violence Against Women," Working Papers 44, Ashoka University, Department of Economics.
    20. Evan Plous Kresch & Molly Lipscomb & Laura Schechter, 2020. "Externalities and Spillovers from Sanitation and Waste Management in Urban and Rural Neighborhoods," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 42(3), pages 395-420, September.
    21. Daniel Gallardo‐Albarrán, 2020. "Sanitary infrastructures and the decline of mortality in Germany, 1877–1913," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 73(3), pages 730-757, August.
    22. Coffey, Diane & Spears, Dean & Vyas, Sangita, 2017. "Switching to sanitation: Understanding latrine adoption in a representative panel of rural Indian households," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 41-50.
    23. Dasgupta, Indraneel & Pal, Sarmistha, 2018. "Touch Thee Not: Group Conflict, Caste Power, and Untouchability in Rural India," IZA Discussion Papers 12016, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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