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Nature's Call: Impacts of Sanitation Choices in Orissa, India

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  • Katherine L. Dickinson
  • Sumeet R. Patil
  • Subhrendu K. Pattanayak
  • Christine Poulos
  • Jui-Hen Yang

Abstract

Worldwide, over 2.5 billion people lack access to basic sanitation, a situation that contributes to 2 million annual diarrhea-related child deaths and substantial morbidity. Yet rigorous evaluations of sanitation behaviors and their health and welfare impacts are rare. This article uses a randomized sanitation promotion campaign in Orissa, India, to evaluate child health and household welfare outcomes. The sanitation campaign increased households' ownership and use of latrines and improved children's mid-upper-arm circumference, height, and weight z-scores. Switching from open defecation to latrine use also saved time and increased satisfaction in sanitation conditions. We use our results to illustrate the cost-benefit calculus underlying this seemingly unglamorous and mundane household choice with potentially large environmental externalities.

Suggested Citation

  • Katherine L. Dickinson & Sumeet R. Patil & Subhrendu K. Pattanayak & Christine Poulos & Jui-Hen Yang, 2015. "Nature's Call: Impacts of Sanitation Choices in Orissa, India," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(1), pages 1-29.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/682958
    DOI: 10.1086/682958
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lee, Lung-fei & Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Pitt, Mark M., 1997. "The effects of improved nutrition, sanitation, and water quality on child health in high-mortality populations," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 209-235, March.
    2. Yang, Jui-Chen & Pattanayak, Subhrendu K. & Jonson, F. Reed & Mansfield, Carol & van den Berg, Caroline & Jones, Kelly, 2006. "Unpackaging demand for water service quality : evidence from conjoint surveys in Sri Lanka," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3817, The World Bank.
    3. Santosh Kumar & Sebastian Vollmer, 2013. "Does Access To Improved Sanitation Reduce Childhood Diarrhea In Rural India?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(4), pages 410-427, April.
    4. Mir Anjum Altaf & Jeffrey A. Hughes, 1994. "Measuring the Demand for Improved Urban Sanitation Services: Results of a Contingent Valuation Study in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 31(10), pages 1763-1776, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Augsburg, Britta & Rodríguez-Lesmes, Paul Andrés, 2018. "Sanitation and child health in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 22-39.
    2. Orgill-Meyer, Jennifer & Pattanayak, Subhrendu K., 2020. "Improved sanitation increases long-term cognitive test scores," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 132(C).
    3. 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.
    4. Hutton, Guy & Patil, Sumeet & Kumar, Avni & Osbert, Nicolas & Odhiambo, Francis, 2020. "Comparison of the costs and benefits of the Clean India Mission," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
    5. Brown, Joe & Hamoudi, Amar & Jeuland, Marc & Turrini, Gina, 2017. "Seeing, believing, and behaving: Heterogeneous effects of an information intervention on household water treatment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 141-159.

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