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Arsenic Mitigation in Bangladesh: A Household Labor Market Approach

Author

Listed:
  • Richard Carson

    () (University of California, San Diego)

  • Phoebe Koundouri

    (Dept. of International and European Economic Studies, Athens University of Economics and Business)

  • Celine Nauges

Abstract

A major environmental tragedy of modern times is the widespread arsenic contamination of shallow drinking water wells in rural Bangladesh which went unrecognized for years. Large numbers of people are now starting to show a range of symptoms long associated with chronic arsenic exposure. Rural families in Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world, face financial risks from major illness both from the cost of medical care and from the loss of income associated with reduced labor supply and productivity. Because of the lack of comprehensive government assistance programs and formal insurance markets, most of these households have to rely on private, informal, insurance mechanisms. For the poor these typically take place at the household level. While arsenic-related health problems in Bangladesh have long received considerable attention (e.g., Smith, Lingas, and Rahman 2000), implications for the labor supply have not been examined. In this article, we look at the impacts of arsenic contamination on both the overall level of hours worked and the distribution of these hours within households. Using a large sample of rural households matched to arsenic exposure, we find (i) overall household labor supply is 8% smaller due to arsenic exposure and (ii) intra-household reallocation of work between males and females is used to self-insure against the risk induced by arsenic exposure.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Carson & Phoebe Koundouri & Celine Nauges, "undated". "Arsenic Mitigation in Bangladesh: A Household Labor Market Approach," DEOS Working Papers 1130, Athens University of Economics and Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:aue:wpaper:1130
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    File URL: http://wpa.deos.aueb.gr/docs/Arsenic3Nov09.doc
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hanna, Rema & Oliva, Paulina, 2015. "The effect of pollution on labor supply: Evidence from a natural experiment in Mexico City," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 68-79.
    2. Stefano Bosi & David Desmarchelier & Lionel Ragot, 2015. "Pollution effects on labor supply and growth," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 11(4), pages 371-388, December.
    3. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell, 2012. "The Impact of Pollution on Worker Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3652-3673, December.
    4. repec:spr:izalbr:v:6:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1186_s40172-017-0055-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Chowdhury, Shyamal & Krause-Pilatus, Annabelle & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2015. "Arsenic Contamination of Drinking Water and Mental Health," IZA Discussion Papers 9400, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell, 2013. "Environment, Health, and Human Capital," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(3), pages 689-730, September.
    7. Marion Drut & Aurélie Mahieu, 2015. "Correcting agglomeration economies: How air pollution matters," ERSA conference papers ersa15p507, European Regional Science Association.
    8. Cozzi, Guido & Galli, Silvia & Mantovan, Noemi, 2017. "Will a Shrink Make you Richer? Gender Differences in the Effects of Psychotherapy on Labour Efficiency," MPRA Paper 81597, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Stefano Bosi & David Desmarchelier & Lionel Ragot, 2015. "Preferences and pollution cycles," EconomiX Working Papers 2015-36, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    10. Tom Chang & Joshua Graff Zivin & Tal Gross & Matthew Neidell, 2016. "Particulate Pollution and the Productivity of Pear Packers," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 141-169, August.
    11. Marion Drut & Aurélie Mahieux, 2014. "Correcting agglomeration economies: How air pollution matters," Working Papers hal-01007019, HAL.
    12. Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2016. "Health shocks and well-being," The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Springer;The Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE), vol. 59(1), pages 155-164, March.
    13. Stefano Bosi & David Desmarchelier, 2016. "Pollution and infectious diseases," Working Papers 2016.22, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics

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