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Efficiency in Saving Infant Lives: the Influence of Water and Sanitation Coverage


  • Gustavo Ferro

    () (Instituto de Economía UADE and CONICET - FACE UADE)

  • Carlos A. Romero

    () (Instituto de Economía UADE - UADE)

  • Ignacio Castiglione,

    (Departamento de Economía UADE - FACE)


In this paper, we aim to assess the relationship between water and sanitation coverage and saved infant lives. Our hypothesis is that extended coverage implies measurable results in terms of reduced infant mortality. Moreover, we suspect that with the same resources, ceteris paribus, different countries can achieve better or worst results depending on the efficiency which the resources are used. We explore the policy consequences, simulating the effects that improvements in efficiency can yield in terms of the reduction in child mortality. Our approach is first to explore with a database of Latin American countries the "production function" of survivor infants on 1,000 births. Once we identify the causal relationship with an econometric model, we estimate a production frontier with Data Envelopment Analysis in order to determine the best performers: countries which can do better with the same "inputs". Finally, we simulate the consequence of catching up to the frontier in each country. The impressive quantitative results are interesting for policy concerns, since efficiency is reconciled with equity (in the sense that the winners of the coverage increases and the health improvements are the poorer).

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  • Gustavo Ferro & Carlos A. Romero & Ignacio Castiglione,, 2011. "Efficiency in Saving Infant Lives: the Influence of Water and Sanitation Coverage," Working Papers hal-00612956, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-00612956
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ferro, Gustavo & Logares, Candelaria & Roitman, Mauricio, 2009. "Agua, salud y análisis costo/beneficio social
      [Water, health and social cost/benefit analysis]
      ," MPRA Paper 16618, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    water; sanitation; health;

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