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Toxic roads: Unearthing hazardous waste dumping

Author

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  • Caterina Gennaioli
  • Gaia Narciso

Abstract

Illegal disposal of toxic waste has become an issue of concern in both developing and developed countries. Recycling hazardous waste entails very high costs, which might give strong incentives to dispose toxic material in an illegal way. This paper adopts an innovative strategy to identify where toxic waste might have been illicitly dumped. The strategy relies on a crucial premise: road constructions provide an ideal setting in which the burial of hazardous waste may take place. Guided by the medical literature, we investigate the health outcomes of individuals living along recently constructed roads in Ethiopia. We construct a unique dataset, which includes the extensive Demographic and Health Survey, together with georeferenced data on roads, villages and economic development, covering a 10-year period. We find that an additional road within a 5 kilometres radius is associated with an increase in infant mortality by 3 percentage points. Moreover, we provide evidence that young children living near a recently built road show a lower level of haemoglobin and are more likely to suffer from severe anaemia. A series of robustness checks confirms the above findings and excludes other potential confounding factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Caterina Gennaioli & Gaia Narciso, 2017. "Toxic roads: Unearthing hazardous waste dumping," Working Papers 82, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgs:wpaper:82
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    File URL: http://webspace.qmul.ac.uk/pmartins/CGRWP82.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Masayuki Kudamatsu, 2012. "Has Democratization Reduced Infant Mortality In Sub-Saharan Africa? Evidence From Micro Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(6), pages 1294-1317, December.
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    7. Janet Currie & Michael Greenstone & Enrico Moretti, 2011. "Superfund Cleanups and Infant Health," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 435-441, May.
    8. Black, Sandra & Bütikofer, Aline & Devereux, Paul J. & Salvanes, Kjell G, 2013. "This Is Only a Test? Long-Run Impacts of Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Fallout," CEPR Discussion Papers 9443, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hazardous Waste; Health; Infant Mortality; Ethiopia;

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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